Seizure Order on SA White Farm

BBC News, Oct. 13

South Africa is for the first time forcing a white farmer to sell his land under a redistribution plan.

The government served an expropriation order on Hannes Visser.

The move came after failed talks between Mr Visser and the Land Claims Commission, set up to return to black people land they lost under apartheid.

Mr Visser said he would challenge the decision in court. The government says it wants to hand over about a third of white-owned farm land by 2014.

But progress has been slow, as the policy until now, has meant that both the seller and buyer have to agree on the terms, the BBC’s Peter Biles in Johannesburg says.

Protracted negotiations

Mr Visser has the 500-hectare (1,250-acre) cattle and crop farm in Lichtenburg in North West province.

His family bought it in 1968, but a black family has lodged a claim to the property dating back to the 1940s.

Over the past two-and-a-half years, Mr Visser and the Land Claims Commission have been trying to negotiate, but failed to agree on the value of the property.

The government had offered to buy the farm for $275,000 but Mr Visser says it is worth almost twice as much.

Mr Visser now has 21 days to respond to the notice of expropriation.

In the 11 years since the end of apartheid, less than 4% of farmland has been transferred from white to black ownership, he says.

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