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Land reform plan to stir angry debate

Jul 19 2010 08:44 Hennie Duvenhage

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Cape Town - The far-reaching new land reform green paper, due out on Monday, is expected to run into a storm of controversy.  

The department of rural development and land reform, which has admitted its present land reform plan was at a stalemate, is looking at a three-part programme.

Firstly, a restriction will be placed on the amount of land that individuals and companies may own. This will depend on the geographic location of the land and the nature of the farming conducted on it.

Secondly, the green paper says that all state land should be leased out.

And thirdly, foreigners may own land only if they have a South African citizen as a partner.

The green paper also sets out a threefold structure for the land reform process, one of which is the creation of a national land commission charged with creating a database on land ownership in South Africa.

It also proposes the establishment of a council of interested parties as well as a rural development council, both of which will be involved in the land reform process.

Furthermore, it appears that the green paper makes provision for the state to have the right of first refusal when an owner wants to sell his land.

The green paper is also expected to indicate ways in which government can extricate itself from the stalemate in which the land reform process currently finds itself.

The 2014 target date for transferring 30% of the country's productive agricultural land has already been postponed to 2025, while 90% of the land transfers already done have  been described as failures by the department itself.

Various residential rights which form part of the rural development and land reform process are expected to be handled separately and subsequently be included in the green paper's strategy.

More emphasis is expected to be put on so-called relative rights, and not solely on right of tenure.

The anticipated publication of the department's green paper comes amid continuing uncertainty about the position of the department's director general, Thozi Gwanya.

Last week it was reported that he had resigned.  

 - Sake24.com

thozi gwanya  |  land reform
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