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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 February 2006, 13:41 GMT
SA to speed up farmland purchase
Hannes Visser. File photo
Mr Visser bought the farm in 1968
South Africa is to press ahead with the compulsory purchase of land from white farmers, a senior official has said.

The move is intended to speed up the restoration of ancestral property to those who lost it under apartheid.

The government previously bought land at market rates for redistribution, but has been criticised for being too slow in its efforts to redistribute land.

Compulsory purchase will now come into effect in cases where the government and the seller cannot agree on a price.

South Africa's chief land claims commissioner, Tozi Gwanya, said land would only be confiscated when negotiations had dragged on for years because the owners were demanding unrealistically high prices.


"There are in excess of 7,000 claims that have been outstanding," he told the AFP news agency.

"We have been negotiating with some white farmers for two or three years especially in four provinces - Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West and KwaZulu Natal - and this has to stop," he said.

Mr Gwanya denied this would be similar to what had happened in neighbouring Zimbabwe, saying white farmers in South Africa would receive a fair price for land.

Last year, the government served expropriation papers for the first time on a white farmer, Hannes Visser.

Mr Visser is challenging the order in court.

President Thabo Mbeki said last week the government would consider ending the "willing buyer, willing seller" principle when settling land cases.

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