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Revamped land reform system unveiled

Aug 31 2011 11:33 Sapa

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Cape Town - The draft green paper on land reform released by Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti on Wednesday proposes a single reconfigured four-tier system of land reform.

This will ensure that all South Africans, particularly rural black people, have reasonable access to land with secure rights to fulfil their basic needs for housing and productive livelihoods, he told a media briefing at parliament.

The green paper aimed to create a new trajectory for land reform which attempted to break from the past without significantly disrupting agricultural production and food security, and avoiding redistribution that did not generate livelihoods, employment and incomes.

The principles underlying land reform were deracialising the rural economy, democratisation and equitable land allocation and use across race, gender and class, and a sustained production discipline for food security, he said.

The green paper proposed a recapitalisation and development programme to ensure that all land reform farms were 100% productive.

It focused on all land reform farms acquired through state funds since 1994, as well as smallholder farms privately acquired but where the new owners had had no means of keeping them productive.

The programme's strategy was partnership with commercial farmers on a risk-sharing basis.

The proposed single four-tier tenure system included state and public land on leasehold, privately owned land on freehold with limited extent, land owned by foreigners on freehold but with precarious tenure and obligations and conditions to comply with, and communally owned land on communal tenure with institutionalised use rights.

An autonomous but not independent land management commission was proposed with functions including advising, coordinating, regulating and auditing.

The land management commission would have the power to subpoena any entity, private or public, to answer questions relating to its landholdings or land interests, enquire about any land question, verify and/or validate or invalidate individual or corporate title deeds, and seize or confiscate land obtained fraudulently or through corrupt means.

The green paper further suggested establishing a statutory office of the land valuer general responsible for, among other things, providing fair and consistent land values for rating and taxing purposes, determining financial compensation in cases of land expropriation, and providing specialist valuation and property-related advice to the government.

A land rights management board and land rights management committees were also proposed. 

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