South Africa: Final land reform and agriculture report released
The land reform panel emphasised that land reform can no longer be postponed, with over 60% of South Africans’ land and/or property rights not recorded or reg
The expert advisory panel on Land Reform and Agriculture, which was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa and formed on September 18 last year, has released a final report.
The main consensus, after much scrutiny, was that “the urgency and Constitutional imperative of land reform in South Africa can neither be taken lightly nor postponed,” said panel chairperson Dr Vuyokazi Mahlati.
“… As the Panel we believe that our country has to face the reality that our colonial and apartheid past, as well as the current inequality perpetuating economic trajectory, has excluded many from the mainstream. The majority of South Africans are either asset-poor, or sit with unrecorded or devalued assets, faced with information and credit market imperfections,” Mahlati continued.
The report contains six important points suggesting how best to take action to alleviate inequality.
1. The panel suggests a mixed tenure model, to accommodate rights from freehold and communal, as well as multilevel ownership arrangements, to restore dignity and social justice. The Panel has advised that recordal of rights in rural and per-urban areas with legislative amendments to accommodate forms of collective ownership as currently only freehold is accommodated by Registry.
2. More effective land acquisition methods, which include a proactive and targeted commodity and area-based approaches with production capacity informed by Agro ecological and land use analysis.
3. The panel have suggested that a Land Donations Policy be set up, to allow for private owners to donate land.
4. The panel did acknowledge that expropriation without compensation may be necessary in some cases.
5. The panel expressed concern over the vulnerability of farm dwellers, which they say may result in a possible amendment to Section 25 aimed at strengthening and securing farm dwellers from the plight of inhumane and widescale evictions.
6. Lastly, it emphasised the critical importance of government’s political will and ability to implement policies for the benefit of the people.
These points were set out to solve problems in land reform, namely landlessness, corruption and ineptitude, illegal land occupations, land administration failures, land holding problems, tenure security, access to water and gender inequality.
(Compiled by Nica Schreuder)