After enduring 17 years of heartache as they watched the farmland that was "successfully" returned to them waste away, the Mmamahlola community in Tzaneen, in Limpopo, is firmly against expropriation of land without compensation. Their more than 3,000ha of productive land planted with avocado, mango, citrus and macadamia plantations was a thriving business before the government’s restitution processes in 2000. The land was returned in terms of the Land Restitution Act to the Banareng ba ga Letsoalo after the government bought it for R43m on a willing-buyer-willing-seller basis from white farmers. The community had been forcibly removed from the land in 1958 and dumped 75km away in Metz. After the land was returned, the community became mere spectators as government grants of R12m were wasted, with the full knowledge of the department of rural development & land reform.

As the debate over land expropriation rages, the Mmamahlola Communal Property Association says their experien...

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