Moving forward, the Government is making headway in the land distribution programme. This follows, Deputy President David Mabuza announcing that 436 563 hectares of land have to date been released and approved for allocation under the land distribution programme.
He made this statement while responding to oral questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday, 13 May 2021.
Whereby he explained, “To date, 436 563 hectares have been released and approved for allocation under the land redistribution programme, and over 5 540 hectares of these 436 563 hectares have been approved for disposal and the remainder for leasing.” The land release forms part of the 700 000 hectares, President Cyril Ramaphosa discussed during his February 2020 State of the Nation Address.
Moreover, the Deputy President further stated Government would be releasing state-owned land to address development pressures around urban and rural human settlements, agricultural production, and industrial development. “The process of releasing state land for agricultural purposes is targeted at vulnerable groups of our society, and will empower women, youth and people with disabilities. To ensure that land is productively utilised by beneficiaries, Government is paying attention to the provision of effective post-settlement support. We are focusing on improving coordination of integrated post-settlement packages to beneficiaries of land, including finance, infrastructure and access to water resources for development.”
The Deputy President enthused that while a tremendous amount of work remains, Government has made significant strides in implementing the recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture.
In December 2019, Cabinet adopted a report on the Government’s response to the Advisory Panel’s Agriculture and Land Reform recommendations. At the time, Cabinet emphasised the need to move with speed in implementing the Panel’s recommendations to ensure that the Government’s land reform programme urgently responds to developmental imperatives of restorative justice, economic inclusion, and social cohesion. Mabuza adds, “For us, the work of the Panel foregrounded the centrality of the three key pillars of land reform, namely restitution, redistribution and land tenure. As we implement the Panel’s recommendations, we will continue to pay equal attention to these key policy instruments while ensuring that our approach to land reform does not impact negatively on agricultural production and the economy in general.”
It is important to note; the Deputy President pointed out that the Constitutionally defined path of the land reform programme will continue to focus on balancing the needs of reversing the legacy of land possession and deprivation, with the vision of fostering nation-building, unity and social cohesion. With this in mind, he highlighted that access to land is an act of social justice that cannot be delayed. “As Government, we are on course in terms of the implementation process. The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform and Agriculture receives regular reports on the implementation of the Panel’s recommendations, and is responsible for ensuring that Cabinet is briefed accordingly.”
Concerning significant legislative and policy interventions, some of the key achievements include, but not limited to:
- The finalisation of the Expropriation Bill of 2020, which is currently going through due parliamentary processes;
- The finalisation and submission to Parliament of the Land Court Bill to provide for the establishment of the court that will focus on land matters set out precise dispute resolution mechanism and strengthen jurisprudence on land-related matters;
- The adoption of Beneficiary Selection and Land Allocation Policy that guides the allocation of land to different categories of beneficiaries; and,
- Ensuring that the Land Donation Policy is approved to guide land donation transactions by private sector players, and institutions keen to contribute to our land reform programme.
Furthermore, the Deputy President claims Cabinet has adopted a position paper on land administration and tenure reform for consultation with various stakeholders. The process of consultation with the provinces on the position paper is in progress. The land summit will follow this with traditional leaders to find common ground on land tenure reform and approaches to land under the custodianship of traditional leaders.
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