Cape Town - Land
Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti spelled out government’s 2014 land reform target
in black and white on Thursday.
Briefing the media at parliament, he said this was necessary
to dispel “confusion” around the figures.
The briefing, by ministers from government’s economic
sectors and employment cluster, follows President Jacob Zuma’s
state of the nation address last month during which he said the pace of land
redistribution is “slow and tedious".
Nkwinti said there are 82 million hectares of agricultural
land in South Africa “presumed to be in the hands of white commercial
Government aims to transfer 30% of this to black
farmers by 2014, a total of 24.5 million hectares.
When Zuma referred in his address to a figure of only
8.2% of this land having been transferred to date, he was talking about 8.2% of
the 82 million hectares.
When government speaks of getting 30% of land transferred, it
means 30% of 82 million hectares, which is 24.5 million hectares.
To date, a total of 6.7 million hectares of land - including
land transferred in terms of redistribution and restitution - has actually been
“Often, we say 30% by 2014, without specifying what we’re
talking about. That’s really (what is causing) the confusion around this,”
On land claims, he said there are close to 9 000 of these
“We have 8 770 land claims that we are working on right now,
that are outstanding.”
Explaining how this figure was arrived at, he said land
claim commissioners have to date examined records in seven of the country’s nine
“Of the nine provinces, we’ve finished seven, and we’ve got
6 000 (claims), based on scanning-in and manually counting.
“We’re moving towards certainty now... we’re much closer to
the real figure now, close to the 8 770 figure, and will complete the process at
the end of this month.”
On completing a land audit - which many believe to be an
essential basis from which to tackle land reform - he said the audit currently
under way would identify only state and public-owned land. This would be
completed by June this year.
“We have a team of 228 people working on the land audit. By
end of June, we could be somewhere... I think they’ve done (to date) about five
or so provinces.”
However, this audit would not reveal the extent of private
transactions involving the sale of white-owned land to blacks, which would take
“There is a question about how much land is in the hands of
the state in the form of communal areas and other forms. And, therefore, how
much land still needs to be transferred from the 82 million hectares of land in
the hands of white commercial farmers.
“That is the question. (But) when we say audit of land, we
mean state and public land, because there’s no register now... that’s the
purpose of this audit.
“But having done that, it (will) not tell you how much land
transacts between persons in the private market, and therefore you could then
add that to the (amount of) land that is transferred between white commercial
farmers to black people in terms of (the) 82 million hectares of agricultural
land in the country,” Nkwinti said.
To identify who owned what land requires further work.
“To identify the ownership of land, we need... to
disaggregate it. Of the land that is transacted in the country, within and
outside the state, how many of them (the transactions) are black?
“In order for us to get this information, we have to work
and collaborate with (the department of home affairs). That project has
It would also be necessary to work with the department of
trade and industry, to identify land owned by companies. Collaboration with the master of
the record would determine what land is held by trusts.
“We are forced to do this if we have to answer the question:
How much land is really transacted, within and outside the state context.
“But right now what we’re doing is auditing the land in
terms of state and public ownership. Because when we start moving into that
disaggregation by race... all of those things... we’ve got a long way to go.”
Nkwinti did not say how long this might take.
Responding to a further question at the briefing, he said
the willing-buyer, willing-seller principle is not the “worst impediment” to
“The worst impediment is... if land is sold to the state (as
opposed to a private sale) the price kicks up immediately. This is a problem
because the state is not a willing buyer, it’s a compelled buyer... That’s why
we have to deal with it,” Nkwinti said.