Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The South African government has expropriated its first farm after price negotiations with the farm's owner ended in a stalemate

BBC News:

The Evangelical Lutheran Church, which owns the land in the Northern Cape province, will receive $4.9m.

Last year, the lands minister - who has blamed white farmers for inflating prices and stalling change - set a six month deadline for such negotiations.

Land reform is one of South Africa's most politically charged issues.

Returning land seized from black farmers during apartheid was one of the key promises made by the African National Congress when it came to power in 1994.

More than 12 years later, only 4% of white-owned land has been transferred and the government has come under fire for going too slowly.

The expropriated farm, north of Kimberly, has been claimed by local families.

The church has 60 days to handover ownership documents to the state, Reuters news agency reports.

The expropriation took effect on 26 January, the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights said in a statement.

Lands Minister Lulu Xingwana has denied charges that land reform is being carried "Zimbabwe style".

But she has said price negotiations could not go on "forever".

South Africa in first land grab

South Africa's Democracy in Trouble


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