Blacks not using farms awarded by govt

2010-10-07 15:08

Muldersdrift - Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said on Thursday that very few of the farms transferred to blacks under the country's land reforms were productive, partly owing to poor management.

The land reform programme has caused unease and slowed investment in the agricultural sector as white commercial farmers remain unsure of whether to reinvest in farms under claim by black farmers.

"(The) government didn't have a strategy to ensure that the land was productive, if there was a strategy it was not backed with proper resources," Nkwinti told a farmers' conference.

After the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa's government set a target of handing over 30% of commercial farmland to blacks by 2014 as part of a plan to correct racial imbalances in land distribution caused by apartheid.

But the programme had not worked as expected due to several hurdles including lack of funds and poor management.

"The other problem is that we gave land to big groups of people and when there are conflicts within the group, nobody develops the land anymore is consumed with the in-fighting and the land remains unproductive," Nkwinti said.

"Now the (land reform) process has changed to focus on people who have shown more passion and ability to farm," he added.

He said the government would address some of the challenges in its green paper aimed at resuscitating the reform programme.

The new South Africa draft land policy also proposes limits to land ownership by its own citizens and foreigners.

Land reform is a sensitive issue in South Africa and has been brought into focus by the decline in agriculture in neighbouring Zimbabwe, where white commercial farmers were often evicted violently by President Robert Mugabe's government.

Pretoria has said its own land reform will be orderly, but critics have said many of the same problems faced by Zimbabwe, including lack of proper support for new farmers and inadequate farming skills, are likely to hinder South Africa's programme.

  • Agnes - 2010-10-07 15:38

    I fully agree most of the farm workers end-up loosing their jobs because of this transfere. I'm from Tzaneen Limpopo there are beautiful and productive farms but since land reform nothing is taking place there is just the big grass

  • Francois - 2010-10-07 15:44

    From "THE TRAGEDY OF THE COMMON REVISITED" by Beryl Crowe (1969) reprinted in MANAGING THE COMMONS by Garrett Hardin and John Baden W.H. Freeman, 1977; ISBN 0-7167-0476-5 (see this excerpt online at " writer postulated a common life cycle for all of the attempts to develop regulatory policies. The life cycle is launched by an outcry so widespread and demanding that it generates enough political force to bring about establishment of a regulatory agency to insure the equitable, just, and rational distribution of the advantages among all holders of interest in the commons. This phase is followed by the symbolic reassurance of the offended as the agency goes into operation, developing a period of political quiescence among the great majority of those who hold a general but unorganized interest in the commons. Once this political quiescence has developed, the highly organized and specifically interested groups who wish to make incursions into the commons bring sufficient pressure to bear through other political processes to convert the agency to the protection and furthering of their interests. In the last phase even staffing of the regulating agency is accomplished by drawing the agency administrators from the ranks of the regulated." Much the same as with "nationalising" mines, etc...

  • Duke - 2010-10-07 15:52

    Gift are to be played with, given a productive farm to a subsiatance farmer can never work. WAKE UP ANC, TOGETHER WE CAN BUILD RSA, APART WE WILL DESTROY IT. THE NP SHOULD HAVE TAUGHT YOU THAT!

  • James Peterson - 2010-10-07 15:57

    I don't think it's a black vs white problem. I personally believe the issue lies with upbringing. White farmers raise their children on a farm, this is all the kids know and do. From as young as 10 years old kids are thought not just the logistics but the financials of running a farm. The kids know the crops and the mechanicals, the effect of the rain, wind, and sun. It's in their blood and passed from generation to generation. Giving anyone, of any race or culture, who has not had this privilege land, and told to produce is asking for trouble. Let white people be white people and black people be black people. Let them do what they are good at, and sure, maybe help aspiring farmers get off their feet, but it should not be a racial issue. Making something non-racial, such as farming, an issue of race, is the ultimate definition of racism.

  • Investor - 2010-10-07 16:00

    Farmers spend many years studying agriculture at colleges and there is also the financial management aspect as well to train up these new farmers. The old farmers should get involved and help train these new farmers and government needs to spend money on training these new farmers at agriculture colleges otherwise they have limited chance of making the farming economically viable.

  • Vusi - 2010-10-07 16:04

    How can they use the land when they are not assisted with Farming equipment, seeds and fertilisers? The Government needs to give them the means to f

  • Dave - 2010-10-07 19:13

    What is most sad is that once the fertile land is destoyed, it takes years and LOTS of money to bring it back to a fertile state. The black and white farmers need to work together. Only give farms to the black farmers who know their stuff and are passionate about farming. Lots of white farmers are willing to share their extensive knowledge. I'm very glad that the problem has been recognised and that plans are being put in place :)

  • Johan1 - 2010-10-07 19:27

    Vusi, the white farmers take out loans against their land in order to buy seed, implements and fertiliser. Nobody just gives it to them. If their crops fail, the bank takes their farm - as simple as that. In many of the land "transfers", the black farmers don't actually own the land, it remains government land. They can't therefore borrow money using the land as security. In that way, the government is setting them up to fail. No white farmer would be able to farm today if he couldn't use his land as security against bank loans. Don't make the mistake of thinking that most white farmers are "rich". They are actually massively indebted.

  • Farmer - 2010-10-07 19:36

    You don't appreciate what don't work for!. If it comes easy it goes easy.

  • BRUCE - 2010-10-07 19:52

    The State should work with existing farmers. Farmers employ workers-some good and some not good. The good ones can be nominated by the farmer ( number limited ) and sent to basic agriculural college owned and run by the state. After completion of the course the aspiring farmer is allocated a small farm.The state has ample vacant land to do this. The farmer then becomes the mentor of the new farmer( for a period of say 3 years ) giving advice on all aspects of making a success of the project,for instance how to access finance,equipment, fertilizer and so on. If successful the new farmer could obtain a second or even third or more farms.If not successful he would go back to being a farm worker and his farm allocated to another new farmer coming through the system. Of course existing farmers would have to buy into the scheme and to do this the land grab in the name of transformation should be discontinued

  • Clive - 2010-10-07 20:23

    Taking land and giving it to the disadvantaged starts whith great political fanfare.The tent ,food,political speeches.Co ops do not work as " equals" cannot tell others what to do.A farm that supports 1 family and 5 workers cannot now support 10 familys.What ghappens nextis that the owners start farming "people "and become land lords.A rethink is urgently needed.

  • zaboy - 2010-10-07 20:28

    A free farms is an enless source of beer. Beer, you say? Well, listen. A free farm can be used to get a loan, and the loan can buy beer. A free farm can be sub-let to many other 'farmers' and this rental can be used to buy much beer and a BMW for the farmer. Real farming is for fools who have purchased their land - please - what a joke!!

  • AJ @ Vusi - 2010-10-08 05:43

    Vusi, when one has a farm or any business one uses the profits or takes a loan to enable one to buy the things that will increase profitability and/or grow the business. One does not sit around waiting for someone to give the stuff to you for free. If I need new computers for my business I buy them, I dont wait for govt to give me tax payers money to do so. Seriously, do you think it all just falls into your lap? Who teaches you this stuff?

  • SdP - 2010-10-08 07:08

    The government "bought" our family farm for a pittance 4 years ago after a 5 year long battle to try and keep a farm that has been in our family for a very very long time. My dad had to give the government and the "winning" family a 40-page business plan for the farm to explain exactly what can be farmed, how and when. The government then gave each of the 100 families who got the farm start-up funds. (Thousands and thousands of Rands) We went back to the farm to visit the family graveyard when my grandmother passed away (we were not allowed to bury her there) and there is absolutely nothing left on the farm. They have some cattle grazing the last of the available grass, the roads are impossible to drive on and there is absolutely no farming going on. It is the saddest thing to see and to think that they were given every possible form of help to maintain it as a successful farm. Why did we have to lose it to go to nothing? The worst is probably that they didn't just get our farm, but quite a few around it and the same thing happened to the rest of them. It's a disgrace!

  • hmm - 2010-10-08 07:13

    All things aside.. White farmers purchased their land from the government and made a success of it, why can black farmers not purchase their land also and make a success of it?

  • Shrek - 2010-10-08 07:44

    Getting the land is the easy part. Using that land productively is where one needs a few brain cells. Most people don't understand that farming is a science.....people go to universities to study farming. Unproductive farms = no job creation = less food for sale = starvation.

  • henry - 2010-10-08 07:51

    No wonder South Africa has to import most of it´s fruit and vegetables.

  • Jim - 2010-10-08 08:02

    @Vusi, Would you like us to come and plough your fields , grow your crops, and sell your products as well? Get Real .

  • right direction - 2010-10-08 09:35

    Lets see the possitive here. point: the Govt has seen an error in reckless land redistibution. whether or not the new circumstances are 100% fair or is a step in the right direction. I'm glad the Govt is realising an error in thier ways.

  • Charles - 2010-10-08 09:36

    Its really very simple, easy come easy go.

  • Antionette - 2010-10-12 12:36

    I am shocked .... HAHAHAHAHA Just look at the rest of Africa - in runs in their veins - just want to sit on STOEP and get rich. Who is going to feed you when all the farms are given to Black farmers? You will probably die of hunger

  • letsgo - 2010-10-12 12:43

    Therefore the answer is simple - Government must change the law to exproporiate more private land at below market value from current sucessful farmers to give the land to more black farmers to raise the probability that one or two may actually use it .... until Government can raise more taxes (after the impact of the introduction of the national health reforms sort-off wears off) .... to give support to farmers that got land before but could not really use it ... and if that money is used up Government will move to nationalise the mines and if they fail will raise new funds by selling the mines to the Chinese .... etc. etc. etc. . . . In the meantime this strategy has been classified as confidential in terms of the new .....

  • @vusi - 2010-10-12 12:47

    vusi the govt gave them free land its up to them to make it work. they just want to sit back get rich and dont want to work , lazy lazy lazy

  • Who - 2010-10-12 12:52

    Really? Foregone conclusion.

  • George - 2010-10-12 12:52

    I am amazed that we should be happy that the Goverment is now waking up! Most farmers live extremely poorly!Do all the work themselves due to the Wonderfull labour relations act! Goverment regulates what they can do with there crops and then threatens them for there farms. Personally i would rather play Russian roulette! They have the weather,economy, and the LabourAct to deal with. what is the point of farming- it is more profitable to do nothing and then when all the farmers are nearly bankrupt the goverment wants to but in!!! Zim has taught them nothing and the pity is that this country can work with all its people but the people that make the calls have no foresight whatsoever and only think about today! But the one thing for sure is that we will run out of food eventually!

  • bheki - 2010-10-12 12:55

    Yes, it is true that we (blacks) do not use the farm that were awarded to us by government reason being that one farm was owned by one farmer and when the government award it to blacks- it becomes a community farm and for sure not all the community members will agree on the use of the farm hence the farm will idle. It will work better if the government take the farm back and lease them to black farmers for 5 years and if the farmer can farm he/she can buy his/ her own farm on the market.

  • Richard - 2010-10-12 12:56

    The answer is VERY simple. Before a farm is "given" to the previously disadvantaged it must be established what the farm produced and what quantity. If the white farmer produced 500 tons of maize a year then the person/persons to whom the farm is given MUST produce the same quantity. If the previously disadvantaged farmer cannot continue to produce that which was produced then take the farm away and give it to someone who will. Simple isn't it.

  • Alan - 2010-10-12 13:13

    Wait, the writing's on the wall.. . The inexperienced people thinking that farming is a get rich quick scheme will be handing back the farms to the white farmers who spent many hours making it work, only to 30 years later when all is back to normal claim it back as his land. Hello Africa, tell me how you doin ??

  • BIRD'S EYE - 2010-10-12 13:17

    Govt have seen the error in their ways & let's hope they've learnt (NOT)...SA will lose commercial farmers to other African countries as they are in demand. I agree fully with James. EVERYTHING STARTS AT GRASSROOOTS LEVEL. EMPOWERMENT CAN ONLY HAPPEN THROUGH EDUCATION..

  • Allie - 2010-10-12 13:22

    History is the most comprehensive early warning system available. Look at the history of Africa for the last 40 years to see where we are heading.

  • just askin - 2010-10-12 13:25

    land is transferred direct from seller to new owners and is not government land so the recipients do have an asset that they get for free to use as security to get loans to do farming if that is really the oblect. our farm which we had an agreement of sale signed by a black was taken by the government at a loss to us of R700000. the 5 bedroom farmhouse and outbuildings including seven garages and coldroom and other accomodation has been stipped bare and only the walls remain. this farm is on a water irrigation scheme and is now producing nothing BUT the community got the minerals rights which they sold and now the land is not being used - so much for wanting to be farmers as they never intended ever trying to farm the land. the blame for this and the three year delay in finalising the transfer is the fualt of government who delayed the process intentionally (we were willing sellers as we already had a buyer) when we indicated our unhappiness with the price and the delays they said they could delay it another four years and expropriate the land and i have this on tape so to blame farmers is an absolute disgrace and the recipients expected to be state subsidised farmers with no responsibility - but dosnt it say as you sow so shall ye reap?

  • webb - 2010-10-12 13:27

    Another brainless government program - give up productive farm land and then give it to people who are either unable to farm it(no resourses or lack of experience)or don't want to (bone idle, lazy). Once these productive farms are taken over, who will feed the country - it's just plain stupid. But perhpas worst of all is the lie created by incompetent ANC cadres who have painted this false picture of wealthy white farmers whose wealth will be automatically transfered to blacks with land. Reality is farmers work dam hard in tough conditions and barely make ends meet. So how do we expect that new farmers without the years of experience and resources are suddenly going to make it work?

  • Don - 2010-10-12 13:38

    I serious do not know why we blaming each other every one is responsible for this mess, if it was not for the whites having too much land this was nt gone happen, however also the government did a poor job in land reforms. I strong believe that Capitalism is strictly followed than it will be better. If not than everyone must loss the land and put it the hands of the people(government). Learn example from other and not make them yours also.

  • Khalib - 2010-10-12 13:43

    Did you know that water rights to each farm will in future be transferred only to BEE owners? So if you want to buy land secure a 51% BEE to ensure a water license.

  • gorgio - 2010-10-12 13:46

    Such a pity that our goverment dont think,and even when they do,its not quite straight.By all means give the land to the 'disadvantage"but make sure that they know what to do with the land,but how are they going to know what to do,when our goverment dont know what they are doing,its all about they must take away from the so called "have's to give to the have'nots and at what a price,let the disadvantaged farmer work alongside the advantaged farmer learning about running a farm and then think about giving them land.Its not all about chickens and cows,its about know-how.Eish

  • ian - 2010-10-12 13:47

    Well it is good that they have recogniiized that these farms are not succeeding. Now their objective should be to get them back into shape and producing. To do that they need to ensure that the farmers have access to funds - at risk as would any white farmer. Then they need to ensure that they are tutored through the farming process. To many people think that farms just produce. It is an incredibly high risk activity. I accept that their had to be some re-distribution of land BUT to what avail if it is not effectively utilized.

  • Mielie boer - 2010-10-12 14:07

    Who's to blaim that these people were never tought to govern themselves, to be productive, to be proactive? These concepts can not be learned if free thinking and creativity is oppressed!

  • John - 2010-10-12 14:08

    I suggest you send this article to Julius Malema who is bleating about land reform

  • Titos - 2010-10-12 14:19

    There are black people out there who are passionate about farming with no farming land,machinery, capacity,capital nor know-how and then there are those who just lack everything.Get the experienced willing-white farmers to be mentors to those with passion for farming and lease the land to them and only then can we take farming out of the doldrums and talk of food security, emancipation, employment creation etc, etc.

  • Deon - 2010-10-12 14:29

    Right from the beginning of 1994 millions of hectares of farmland was available for purchase thru the normal channels and market determined prices. This is even true today, but must they insist on buying where they believe it will benefit them most and cost the taxpayers the most - fully productive farms etc. None of the farms they have purchased was ever in the state in which they are when the Govt. wants to purchase - it took many years to get them there - the same as any new farm acquired. @ Vusi – Even when white farmers returned from the 2nd WW, and farms were provided to them at a cost. No expertise, fertilisers or equipment was provided – that you get by actually working for it – a concept that has completely eluded the greater proportion of our population.

  • jenni - 2010-10-12 14:42

    Just this morning we went back to the farm we farmed on (commercially, viabley and with a qualification in agriculture)for 14 years. 1600ha of farmalnd, that 5 years ago had a productive intensive piggery, beef herd, maize lands yielding 5 tonns plus per ha, plus pasture and 4 well established homesteads. That is until the government purchased the farm ( using tax payers money of course). Now it is stripped bare: raw sewage from the local municipality flowing into the river, buildings stripped and bare, lands full of weeds. One elderly woman and her un-educated family have been placed there. No sign of life, not one plant or domestic animal in sight. Delapidated and ruined. More than 10 black families jobless and displaced. This is one of many such examples. Get educated young, promising black people from agricultural colleges etc (at least they would have an interest) form legal companies/partnerships and show profits. Farming is a business and a career, hard work and savvy are vital. Either that or we all starve. WAKE UP. My heart bleeds to see breadbasket laid bare.

  • Max - 2010-10-12 14:43

    the thinking needs to change on this issue. It goes back to the old age saying "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a life time". Now convert this for the farms, "give a man a farm and you feed him for a week. Teach the man how to farm and you will feed the nation for a life time" Its not about hand outs any more. If you are given something, ensure you know how to use it! You do not give a kid a bicycle when he can not walk! Solution and way forward -- if you give the land to black farmers, the white farmers should stay on as managers (of cousre they should get paid for this) and teach the new farmers on how to farm and what type of effort is required to make the farm a success. If you do not teach them how to farm, how are they going to make the farm work. No farmer got rich by sitting on his stoep and smoking a pipe. Time to get off you butt and work the land and make a success of it.

  • Timmy - 2010-10-12 14:49

    Go Starve Africa U deserve it!!

  • Allie - 2010-10-12 15:35

    The ANC is not interested whether a farm is successful or not.As part of their hostile takeover,the farms must be taken from the white people.If they run out of food,they use taxmoney to import like the rest of Africa.The white man can teach them everything ,but they are to vain to admit their limitations and will rather get foreigners into the country.This will prevail until the whole thing is bankrupt.Then the ANC maipulators will disapear with the stolen spoils.

  • Jaco - 2010-10-12 15:44

    Bheki - you are correct. One of the problems with land reform is that a farm that supported one family is now transferred to a community that consists of numerous families - sometimes more than 100 - therefore no way that community can utilise farm other than for subsistance farming - it just does not make any commercial sense or long term sense in terms of food security for the country. The other problem is that such farms are normally managed by a Communual Property Association and within a short period of time there is infighting in the community and if you add a tribal authority to the list of problems, you really sit with a major problem. I think government is realising the problems facing land reform and they are now looking at the option to lease farms to upcoming farmers or beneficiary communities. This will enable government to end lease contracts with single or community farmers that do not perform. The problem is that it will create political tension when farmers' / communities' contracts are ended due to lack of performance. Land reform remains a very difficult issue and I hope that government learns from their previous mistakes - else we will end up with serious political problems and no commercial agricultural sector.

  • Leanne - 2010-10-12 15:56

    We sold our farm to our workers, presented the business plan on their behalf, and were subsequently asked by them and the Dept of Agriculture and Land Affairs to assist the beneficiaries as the Balance of Grant and Casp Grant fund were not available. We were told to get a contract drawn up between them even giving us the percentage split of the partnership. We did all according to their instructions. After working with the beneficiaries for a year, paying living allowances, food and all the other expenses we were asked by land affairs to submit a schedule of our expenses, excluding the equipment and the crop of instant lawn which was our input to the partnership, we have been told that land affairs has no obligation to pay us back, the Dept of Agriculture has simply turned their back on us after the manager assuring us that they are there to see that both sides do not suffer, and the beneficiaries, some of whom had worked with us for almost 30 years, denied ever asking us to assist them, despite this being in the business plan which was accepted by all the parties in land reform. This is nothing more than another corrupt situation and now after us exhausting our finances, we cannot pay our bond each month. We invested R 771 000-00 in this circus. The lawyer even said that no contract entered into with these people is worth the paper it is written on. LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE COUNTRY it doesn't work. We were told not to expect loyalty from these people who worked with us because they were now landowners - does that mean loyalty, honesty and integrity falls away. Needless to say everything on the farm has been stolen, the new tractor is driven to the shops everyday and that's the way things happen.

  • Patriot - 2010-10-12 16:05

    I have done a presentation to the Deputy Minister of Agriculture on the 1st September 2010 how to assist the present farmers with a well thought-out strategy, this after the minister of Agriculture said in June 2010 “Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson “Government wants to tap into the goodwill that exists among white commercial farmers to help grow the black farming sector”, Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said on Wednesday. We must work together to do more. We will listen to all stakeholders. We will listen to those who have competence and skills. We do not have the luxury of time to reinvest in these. There are historically advantaged commercial farmers who have the knowledge and who have the know-how. And there is goodwill among white commercial farmers. There is goodwill; they want to help. It is tapping into that goodwill that is important, and not to always blame and label white commercial farmers as the enemy. There are patriotic white South Africans who want to help this country," she told MPs’’ However, the 1st meeting took 3 months to set-up, I have send various requests to her office (most of the time the emails are returned because the email server is down) with no feedback, no thank you, no nothing….eich!! Anyone who want the presentation email me on:

  • Clive - 2010-10-12 16:13

    Forget the phrase ' government gave them the farms'. Government gave nothing, they used valuable tax payers money to bugger up a whole valuable farming system. No one handed out farms in the previous dispensation, it was bought and properly run out of the farmer's pocket or on a bank overdraft. Now a days, we want farms, we want to sit back and wait because the government promised us land, houses and money and if we don't make it at all, we blame it on the Apartheid Regime. Strangely how the Apartheid Regime turned a blind eye when a farmer was not able to make it. Farming is not for sissys neither for lazy loafers. The minister of labor and his team should be tasked to do regular checks on those give away farms and report to the president on the status. This will keep him busy. He may even decide to resign because of all the negative reports he will have to cope with.

  • MB - 2010-10-12 16:20

    Why would anyone with rational thought processes believe this program will succeed. Name one municipality that is a sustainable success? Name one government institution that is viable- home affairs, the courts, hospitals, education(schools and varsities), housing, roads, dams(water), govt. tenders etc etc. As soon as the majority of Africans realise that it is not a conspiracy that the "white" man is behind Africa's demise but the fact that running a country, a service or an institution is about having the ability to plan, improve, sustain and manage resources for the "customer/citizens". When will we wake up?

  • Honky - 2010-10-12 16:36

    Why not give an uneducated previously disadvantaged and inexperienced person a million rand to play the stock exchange. I guess the same result would be achieved !!

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