Land grab of R35m

Vusi Ndlovu

Vusi Ndlovu

Land activists have given Land Affairs Minister Lulu Xingwana the thumbs-up following the recent expropriation of a church's farm in the Northern Cape.

Xingwana signed an expropriation order to confiscate Pniel farm after her department had reached a stalemate in negotiations to secure it.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church, which owned the farm, had demanded the government pay more than R70million for the farm, but evaluators put its value at R35million.

Using the Expropriation Act, the ministry took the farm, paid R28million into the church's account and gave them 60 days' notice to challenge the expropriation order.

The Landless People's Movement said they were happy with the Xingwana's action because they have been calling for it for years.

The National African Farmers Union also supported the move, provided it was the last resort the government would take to resolve issues in the land redistribution process.

The government will take possession of the Pniel farm on March 15 after paying the remaining balance of R7million.