15 August, 2013
Redistribution to focus on gaining “quality land"
Herewith please find an article
in today's Business Day which confirms the shift in emphasis on land
matters, which FSA have been consistently reporting on since we first
started engaging Minister Nkwinti.
much of this is indeed encouraging, the big challenge, which has not
diminished in importance either politically or socially, is that of
tenure security for farm dwellers and in this regard, we reported last
month on some of the Minister's controversial but well-intentioned
proposals. We are meeting with the other NAREG working group members
from AgriSA tomorrow to discuss these further and will then convene the
FSA Land Committee.
to focus on gaining ‘quality land'
by Shannon Sherry, August 13 2013, 06:46
Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said on Monday the
government's target of transferring at least 30% of land to black ownership had
been fine-tuned to stress quality over quantity.
Nkwinti said the focus was now on the transfer of "100% developed,
are moving away from the quantitative towards the qualitative aspect of land
reform," said Mr Nkwinti at the presentation of the Land Bank's annual
announcement comes as South Africa's land reform programme stutters along amid
a trio of bills interpreted by many as further undermining the "willing
buyer, willing seller" principle that originally governed land transfer
Expropriation Bill extends the state's power to expropriate property, while the
Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill seeks to reopen land claims and
"will create 20 years of uncertainty over title, to the detriment of food
security", says South African Institute of Race Relations chief researcher
Property Valuation Bill gives a valuer-general sole power to decide on the
value of the property to be expropriated.
and experience have revealed, however, that the hunger for land evident in
countries such as Zimbabwe might be largely absent in South Africa. Mr Nkwinti
revealed that of about 79,000 land claims received since the process began,
more than 71,000 of the claimants preferred financial compensation.
than 6,000 of the claims had been specifically for the return of land, he said.
Jeffery mentioned recent studies that she said largely corresponded with Mr
Nkwinti's figures. "It shows how little land hunger there really is,
because South Africa is urbanising rapidly. But the government has always
talked as if the country has a vested interest in land reform," she said.
president Johannes Möller agreed with the impression that "land claimants
will rather take money. So it doesn't make sense, all the talk about land
reform being important for stability.
don't want to be farmers. They want money to buy houses and other things."
Nkwinti said the popular perception that land reform was failing was wrong.
However, Ms Jeffery pointed out that Mr Nkwinti had acknowledged the scale of
the failure of land reform, giving a figure of 90% of transferred land falling
into disuse. "It depends how you define failure," she said. "If
it is about creating productive black farmers then it is a failure."
Möller said: "If redressing injustice is its purpose, land reform might be
called a success. But if it is about getting black people to farm and improving
food security then it is a failure." He said South Africa needed
"other models" for land reform in which new farmers and established
need to farm to scale to be viable. Small farmers won't succeed on their own
because they will have great difficulty in making a profit."
Möller welcomed the shift towards acquiring productive land but doubted whether
the beneficiaries could manage highly technical systems. "Some farming
production systems are so sophisticated, you cannot just hand it over to
anyone, whether they are black or white."
Nkwinti said land reform was also bedevilled by "problems in the
market". He mentioned a transaction in which the government was quoted
R35,000/ha, ostensibly by a group of Limpopo farmers. On investigation,
however, it emerged the farmers wanted R7,500/ha.
is not farmers inflating land prices," said Mr Nkwinti. "There are
people between the farmers and the government who are doing it."
remarks echoed those of many landowners who allege that corrupt officials
inflate prices that the government pays and then receive backhanders.
both Ms Jeffery and Mr Möller agreed that government seemed to be acquiring
land and then holding on to it instead of redistributing it.
acquire it and then do not release it to beneficiaries," said Mr Möller.
This meant that the land could not be used as collateral for finance and
farmers were forced to use their harvest to raise funds.
harvests fail, and the banks know it," said Mr Möller.