DA: Govt must do audit before reform
Cape Town - Until the government has completed a
comprehensive audit of what land it owns and what condition it is in,
land reform will be seriously compromised, says Democratic Alliance
(DA) shadow minister of rural development and land reform Lindiwe
On Monday the official opposition presented its alternative to
the Green Paper on Land Reform that was unveiled by Rural Development
and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti in late August.
Referring to the green paper, Maziubuko said that somewhere
between 19% and 30% of SA's total land was owned by government or
"Until a proper audit is done and the state of the land is
established, there can be no proper land reform process," Mazibuko said.
Turning specifically to the green paper, Mazibuko said: "As
expected, it relies heavily on a discourse of apartheid and colonial
dispossession while paying no attention to government inefficiencies
after 17 years in power."
Mazibuko said: "Most importantly, it offers
no vision of how to substantially address the inequities bequeathed by
apartheid in a coherent and sustainable way. If the green paper is
implemented in its current form, the landless of SA will continue to
feel the effects of the past.
She said there was no question that SA needed an effective and well-implemented land reform programme.
"It is a moral imperative that the injustices created by the
1913 Land Act - which forced millions of black South Africans off their
land - are addressed," Mazibuko said.
In its response, the DA said that its own vision for land
reform was developing the rural economy in which the injustices of
apartheid and colonialism were redressed through a combination of
sustainable job-creating economic growth, and a well-managed and
appropriately resourced land restitution and redistribution programme.
The party recommended an extension of the Western Cape's
programme of encouraging commercial farmers to sell shares in their
farms to their workers, who had been educated on the principles of
However, Mazibuko acknowledged that the DA had to still formulate a full policy on rural development and land reform.
She said the DA would develop a more comprehensive rural
development and land reform policy as part of its overall economic
policy to get the country's gross domestic product to grow by 8% per year. This policy,
Mazibuko said, should be completed by year-end.
The DA expressed its concern with the green paper over the
proposed creation of a land management commission that would be given
wide-ranging discretionary powers to subpoena, award amnesty and
invalidate land ownership.
"These are powers that should be in the hands of the courts,
not in a quasi-autonomous body within the department of rural development and land reform and accountable to the ministry," Mazibuko
The DA also expressed concerns about the establishment of a land valuer general mandated to determine financial compensation in
cases of land expropriation.
"Again, this is a task that should be left to the judiciary -
as specifically provided for in the constitution. Appointing a
non-independent body to determine compensation will be open to abuse and
undermine the constitutional principle of
willing-buyer-willing-seller," Mazibuko said.
DA deputy rural development and land reform shadow minister
Annette Steyn said another major concern was with the government's focus
on the three million South Africans who live and work on
privately-owned farms, while failing to deal adequately with the issue
of communal land tenure, which affects the 16 million landless South
Africans who reside in the former apartheid homelands.