Tunatazama - Community Monitors

Title Deed

Community Alerts/Kgotatso Huma/Thekwane-Rustenburg/29 July 2019

I’m from a Village called Thekwane located on a property known as Turffontein 302 JQ in Rustenberg. This property was purchased in 1870 by 29 members and My Great-great-great-great-grandfather was one of the Mr. Podumo Huma listed as buyer no.7! In terms of the agreement sale, the property was registered in the Name of Mr. Van Staden, who held the property on behalf of the community. As a burger, Van Staden was entitled to hold property in terms of the Besluit of 1855. The transfer of the property from Janse van Rensburg to Van Staden, was registered under title deed number 6081/1870. Since the purchase in 1970, the members of the community have lived on, occupied and used the property and continue to do so, have enjoyed exclusive beneficial occupation and use of the property. Although in recent years access to some areas of the property has been limited by certain mining activities… On 7 June 1878 the property was transferred from Van Staden to a missionary, Penzhorn of the Hermannsburg Missionary Society in terms of the deed of transfer 547/1878.

The community paid Van Staden a consideration of £80 to be replaced as the registered owner on behalf of the community. The community would retain all their rights to the property and Penzhorn would hold the property on behalf of the community. Members of the community raised among themselves the sum of £80 by contributing cattle in order to fulfill the terms of the agreement. Following Penzhorn’s death on 30 November 1895 and without the knowledge or consent of the community, the executor of his estate transferred the property to the Minister of Native Affairs for the Transvaal to hold the property in trust on behalf of the Bafokeng tribe. On 28 August 1907, the Minister of Native Affairs, acting under power of attorney granted to him by Chief Mokgatle (Bafokeng tribe) and without the consent of the community, entered into a notarial prospecting contract with Mr Robert Lys in respect of the property.

A series of subsequent prospecting contracts was endorsed against the title deeds of the property without the community’s consent, including in the years 1931, 1932, and 1963. In 1908, Mr. Modisakeng Petlele, in his personal capacity and in his capacity as leader of the community, instituted an action against Chief Mokgatle and the Minister of Native of Affairs for rectification of the title deed of the property. The action for rectification was dismissed by Smith J in 1908, based on errors of fact and law, particularly the correct findings that customary did not permit a section of a tribe to hold immovable property. There have been two previous legal proceedings concerning the Bafokeng Tribe land rights in respect of Farm, inter alia, Turffontein 302 JQ resulting, in two judgement. By Kgotatso Huma