Fin24

Nkwinti spells out land reform target

2012-03-01 14:05

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 farmers".

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 transferred.

“Often, we say 30% by 2014, without specifying what we’re talking about. That’s really (what is causing) the confusion around this,” Nkwinti said.

On land claims, he said there are close to 9 000 of these outstanding.

“We have 8 770 land claims that we are working on right now, that are outstanding.”

Records

Explaining how this figure was arrived at, he said land claim commissioners have to date examined records in seven of the country’s nine provinces.

“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 much longer.

“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 started.”

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 land reform.

“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. 

Comments
  • Victor - 2012-03-01 14:28

    Goodbye real farming and hello subsistance level farming !

  • Victor - 2012-03-01 14:32

    If he had another brain he would be lonely !!!!!

  • David - 2012-03-01 14:52

    There is already a food shortage, by transferring the land will it mean food production remains the same or increases? What about all the land which the government owns, can't this land be developed for agricultural purposes. Consider these two points before you start taking away productive farm land.

      Paulus - 2012-03-01 15:06

      It is easier to steal, sorry, take already developed land, where food are actually produced, than it is to give them unused government land which then needs to be developed from scratch.

  • Anthony - 2012-03-01 14:57

    Hi, I think we have a real problem when our govnerment cannot learn from the mistakes of the countries north of us, what bunch of idiots.

      David - 2012-03-01 15:00

      land reform failed in Zambia and the government is busy giving back land to white commercial farmers because of it failing, I know this because I live in Lusaka

  • richard.hipkin - 2012-03-01 14:58

    How much of the already transferred land is productive?

      Paulus - 2012-03-01 15:08

      Very little. Reminds me of the BEE woman in the Free State who received a functioning farm, won the Best farmer of the year, or something like that, and a couple of years later was thrown off the farm because everything was gone, and she was running a shebeen on the farm to make ends meet.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-03-01 15:07

    As long as the land is given to reliable commercial farming concerns and not the usual subsistence farmer. Historically there are very few farms that have been transferred to black ownership that haven't either failed completely or gone from being major commercial concerns to being borderline subsistence farms

  • Buti - 2012-03-01 15:32

    talking and acting in the ANC's presence is null

  • Pen - 2012-03-01 16:54

    Give the "emerging" farmers undeveloped land, where it can be developed into viable farms with traning. Why take developed food producing farmland from farmers who know what they are doing? The mind boggles!

  • Nicola - 2012-03-01 17:56

    If you live with a concert pianist, you cannot assume you will be able to play a piano. To have worked on a farm does not mean you are a farmer. Our farmers are essential to our economy. It is irrelevant whether they are black or white. Our government would be wise to leave the commercial farms in the hands of the commercial farmers. Forget race and think food.

  • Mike - 2012-03-01 18:12

    I don't really understand the story behind the price of land being "kicked up" (up to three times) if the state wants to buy. Surely if someone wants to sell land and it is advertised at say R2mil then that is the price. You don't go to buy a car advertised at R200k only to be told it is actually R600k.

  • David - 2012-03-01 18:16

    I guess we will be importing food from Zimbabwe soon.

  • David - 2012-03-01 18:21

    Food security is way more important than the distribution of land to balance inequalities. Its purely a token gesture to distribute land. It really matters if transfer of land goes hand in hand with transfer of farming and produce market knowledge. It would be great if land is transferred, but the poor would be the ones revolting against the government for not providing food.

  • nspaynter - 2012-03-01 19:00

    Yes, in a country like ours, there needs to be more land in the hands of black farmers. I fully support that in principle. But commercial land must also remain productive. Are there also programmes to train black farmers in Agriculture and management to keep the farms productive. What about a governemnt sponsored scheme to encourage experienced and skilled farmers to mentor potential black farmers?

  • Kevin - 2012-03-02 08:12

    As long as the black farmers buy the land and we do not waste tax payers money to buy the land. Please tell these wannabee farmers to buy the landbouweekblad. There are lots of farms for sale. Tell them to bring the cheque book .

  • Rob - 2012-03-02 12:06

    “Often, we say 30% by 2014, without specifying what we’re talking about. That’s really (what is causing) the confusion around this,” Nkwinti said. Yes, it rather the confusion arises because most times you don't know what you are talking (that applies especially to Zuma)!!

  • Harold - 2012-06-08 07:59

    This is sad twenty years in power and the ANC have been shouting land reform is urgent and the ANC have not got the numbers correct. Mr Mkwinti and every other minister that has been making statements about land in South Africa have not been honest about land reform and giving away land is going to be their last trump card to stay in power. I really am starting to hate the ANC liars Everyone of them is nothing but a common thief.

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