Land reform obsession 'wasted money'

2012-08-31 09:53

Johannesburg - Government's obsession with having 30% of agricultural land under black control by 2014 "wasted a pile of money", Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said, Beeld reported on Friday.

He was speaking at the annual meeting of the South African Sugar Association (Sasa) in Durban on Thursday.

When he took over the department in 2009, two-thirds of his budget was spent on the redistribution of land, Nkwinti said.

"We wasted a pile of money because we were chasing after a target of 24.5 million hectares, which is actually not an excessive figure."

Currently, 25% of his department's budget of R1.7bn is being spent on the recapitalisation of 416 farms that have been transferred due to land claims, the daily reported.

"Agriculture is about business. The government cannot succeed if it ventures into business. We provide the infrastructure and leave matters to the farmers," he said.

Sasa chairperson Bongani Linda said 21% of land in the sugar industry is under black ownership, while 7% of the rest of agricultural land is black-owned.

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  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-08-31 10:10

    Would love to know the production figures of those transferred.

      vermeulenwa - 2012-08-31 10:17

      ...and how many were resold by new owners for a fat profit!?

      herman.heil - 2012-08-31 10:17

      Yes, more importantly, how many has already failed?

      frank.vankaapstad - 2012-08-31 11:35

      They will continue spending 25% of the budget on "recapitalising" the 416 farms till the end of days. It is a bottomless pit

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-31 13:04

      Solution is simple, give Malema a mining license & a small farm & lets see how things would be an interesting experiment, it would be absolutely fascinating to see if he would practice what he preaches & how well his workers would be paid & treated.

      dracolusus - 2012-08-31 14:59

      A close friend's grandfather sold his farms for a nice price to government for "redistribution". All the farms, a few years on, are now barren and occupied by squatters. Productive, multi-million rand farms gone to absolute waste.

  • abrie.burger - 2012-08-31 10:20

    Hats off to Minister Gugile Nkwinti for admitting it in public.

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-08-31 10:41

      At least SOMEONE has the balls to take responsibility.

      johan.giliomee - 2012-08-31 10:47

      This has not happened in Government to admit massive failures. It's a start. Let's applaud the Minister!

      herman.heil - 2012-08-31 11:31

      No, let's fire the minister...

  • jbm.moate - 2012-08-31 10:20

    This mister is going to be shuffled because he/she told the truth...

  • nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-31 10:24

    what we have been saying all along, same with nationalization, which will make taxpayers pick up the tab for Govt inefficiency rather than shareholders, when will people realize that if something is not profitable & productive, it is only a matter of time before taxpayers can no longer prop it up.

  • nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-31 10:25

    lets see how many Malema supporters agree with this guy because "he speaks the truth"

  • john.jack.1612147 - 2012-08-31 10:27

    Just nationnalise the land and lease it. Problems solved

      colin.dovey - 2012-08-31 10:29

      What a stupid idea

      colin.dovey - 2012-08-31 10:30

      What a clueless thought

      KCorsar - 2012-08-31 10:34

      really, look at the much of the rest of Africa, where all land is in state hands - how productive are those countries. Subsistence farming on small allotments barely keeps people alive; the little commercial farming that does take place is propped up with donor grants; why because there is no 'ownership or responsibility' - exactly what is happening on many of these redistributed farms, either in the hands of poorly qualified farmers or cronies.

      pieter0827006294 - 2012-08-31 10:35

      I know of a farmer that sold his land to government. They gave it to a black South African and he now rents it from that owner. He says he should have done that years ago. He has no debt, no problem with living rights on his farm etc.

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-08-31 14:54

      John, currently black farmers are complaining that they don't have title deed to land given to them. If you have title deed, you get return for what you invest on your land. I would not mind nationalisation if I could get a 99 year lease, at least then I could get some reward for the infrastructure I develop on my farm. But land is used as collateral to borrow money so as to be able to farm. If you have no collateral, no money equals failed farming enterprise. Also, when you own the land, at least when you are old you can sell it for a pension. A farmer leasing land will be saving that money for pension instead of investing it on developing his farm to add value. Also,if the land is not yours, you don't care for it in the same way. Human nature - try renting a house and see how tenants treat your house.

  • DarrenCooper68 - 2012-08-31 10:29

    A minister that gets it. Thier primary job is to create the infrastructure, policies etc that create an environment for farms and business to succeed. Send interested parties to study and for work experience and training. Only then arrange for the redistribution to those that have completed the studies and excelled in the relevent fields. It is never to late for this type iof implementation.....

  • johan.giliomee - 2012-08-31 10:30

    Some light!!!

  • heathway.master - 2012-08-31 10:31

    The land re-distribution obsession is driven by the black man’s obsession with the amount of land he should have to allow his cattle, goats and chickens to scratch around on. For all of history, a black man has regarded land ownership as a sign his importance in the community. If one looks at the true land statistics, not those drummed up by political opportunists like Malema, the white commercial farmer presently occupies 2% of the arable land in South Africa, yet produces 95% of the agricultural output. Please don’t dispute my figures and parrot fashion quote the propaganda figures so loved by land claim protagonists. My figures are 100% correct, theirs nothing but horrendous untruths. In the Lonmin incident, striking miners claimed a salary of R 4000 a month, whereas the true figures issued by the mine is a gross salary of R 10 000 month, which can be significantly increased by production targets being met. In my company, white technicians and highly qualified professional graduate straight out of varsity, earn less than this. In discussions with black miners, rock drill operators in their words, are considered to be the least skilled workers at a mine, so a gross salary of R 12 500 per month is ludicrous according to fellow black miners. The miners choose to live in shacks rather than get accommodation and food at the mine. For this they are given an extra allowance of R 1800 per month. All the striking is therefore drummed up by political opportunists.

      zybt99 - 2012-08-31 10:58

      I would love to know wher your accurate statistics come from. The miners take home 4875. The housing subsidy goes to the rent they pay to live on tin shacks at the mine. You should never generalise things when you are not aware of all the facts. Not just your \accurate\ lot.

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-08-31 14:58

      A farmer myself, I find your "facts" debateable. 2%? I like to be defended, but not by dubious "facts". Can you perhaps explain the 2%?

  • prieurp34 - 2012-08-31 10:32

    IERDIE PATETIESE ONBEVOEGDE REGERING KAN NET MOOI NIKS REG DOEN NIE!!!!!\r\n\r\n\Sowat 48 dragtige Drakensberger-stoetkoeie het die afgelope maand weens honger en dors op die Athole-proefplaas van die Mpumalanga-regering naby Ermelo gevrek.\r\n\r\nDie diere is deel van ’n groot aantal stoetbeeste op die plaas wat vir ontluikende boere opsy gesit is.\r\n\r\nLede van die polisie se veediefstal­eenheid en die Dierebeskermingsvereniging (DBV) het gister op die proefplaas toegeslaan nadat hulle ingelig is oor die verwaarloosde beeste.\r\n\r\nBinne sigafstand van die kantore en wooneenhede op die plaas het vyf dooie diere naby mekaar gelê.\r\n\r\n’n Swaar reuk van verrottende vleis het oor die plaas gehang omdat talle karkasse net in ’n gat gegooi en nie verbrand is nie.\r\n\r\nOp ’n ander plek dieper in die veld is nog drie erg ontbinde karkasse gevind.\r\n\r\nDele van fetusse kon in die ontbindende karkasse gesien word.\r\n\r\n’n Paar beeste wat glo onlangs in ’n vleigebied in die modder beland en vasgesit het, is daar gelos om te vrek.\r\n\r\n“Dit was skrikwekkend om dit te aanskou. ’n Mens kan nie glo watter marteling die diere moes deurgaan voordat hulle gevrek het nie,” het ’n ingeligte wat anoniem wil bly, gesê.\r\n\r\nDie polisie het later ’n dragtige koei wat so verswak was dat sy nie kon opstaan nie in die veld gevind.\r\n\r\nDie DBV het werkers van die plaas opdrag gegee om die dier water en voer te gee.\r\n\r\n“Maar ek glo nie sy gaan die paal haal nie,” het die ingeligte gesê.\r\n\r\nWerkers wat ondervra is, beweer hulle het al verskeie kere vergeefs by die proefplaas se bestuur gekla oor probleme met die diere se voeding.\r\n\r\nDaar is glo nie meer geld beskikbaar om voer vir die diere te koop nie.\r\n\r\n’n Groot deel van begroting van die proefplaas, wat tussen Ermelo en Amsterdam geleë is, is blykbaar twee jaar gelede vir die WB 2010-sokkertoernooi gebruik.\r\n\r\nDie polisie en DBV ondersoek nou klagte van dieremishandeling.\\r\n\r\nBheki Nyathikazi, woordvoerder van die provinsiale departement van landbou, het gisteraand gesê hulle is nie bewus van die probleem nie.\r\n\r\n“Daardie diere is wel vir ontluikende boere gekoop en die departement gaan dringend ’n ondersoek gelas.”\r\n\r\nFor those who do not understand Afrikaans, this is a clear case why farms should be left alone to be handled by people who knows what they are doing! 48 cows who some of them were going to give birth all died because hunger on the Athlone farm near Ermelo, this farm was under the supervision of the Mpumalamga Government , department of Agriculture! The carcasses were dumped in a hole without even burning them, a thick stinge was hanging over the farm due to the decomposed carcasses! Now they want to distribute even more land and claim farms, what the hell will they do with those farms, they can't even manage the ones under black control now! Pathetic!

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-08-31 15:03

      I live directly opposite a claimed farm - they took it 7 years ago. Nobody has ever even come to live on it. All the buildings were stripped of everything besides the bricks. The lands are now all weeds, the orchards have died. All the farms distributed in my area are currently no longer functioning at all, and have all been gutted of anything moveable. I ask, why did they want the farms in the first place? They don't even squat on them, the claimants all have homesteads in the surrounding area, why would they want to move? Its an ideological fiasco, land reform.

  • bob.small.7547 - 2012-08-31 10:32

    "Currently, 25% of his department's budget of R1.7bn is being spent on the recapitalisation of 416 farms that have been transferred due to land claims" If recapitalisation is necessary, does this not indicate to them that these farmers are not making the grade! They are given fully functional profitable farms, and they cannot sustain them as profitable enterprises….Doomed to fail and going to cost the government a greater bomb in the future to sustain!!

      richard.zanner - 2012-08-31 11:31

      Good point. Giving land is one thing but to actually farm and produce is another. SA now imports Maize where we used to Export it. Old story, give a man a fish and he has one meal but teach him to fish and he will have every meal. Now our education department says that BASIC education is no longer guaranteed. Give a man a farm and he will create a desert but at least teach him to farm. These principles are not hard to understand but I have to believe that our "leaders' are either that stupid or they do not care.

      fanie.brink.5 - 2012-08-31 12:22

      At least R1,6bn will not reach the farms!!!

  • wesley.bischoff - 2012-08-31 10:40

    Why must already commercially viable land, that provides the citizens of this country with food, be redistributed? The government owns MILLIONS of hectares of land that could be used, but instead they want to buy land. How about they distribute the land already in their possession?

      terrylee.heuer - 2012-08-31 14:48

      Absolutely agree I think they own 800 million hectres of land but the point is they want to take what is already there they don't want to start from scratch because they don't know how to and because they are too stubborn to ask the farmer for help to get it up and running. Imagine all that land being agricultured there would be job creation and food the poor for years to come gosh I know nothing about farming but can see potential if only Govt would work with the people and not against them!!!

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-08-31 15:05

      Because if they do this they lose a nice ideological tool to play with. Its not about upliftment, its all about political games. This regime is not honest.

      bob.small.7547 - 2012-08-31 18:55

      Good point Wesley...But that would entail work....! and you know who does not like to have to work for the spoils they desire!

  • craig.j.edmondson - 2012-08-31 11:03

    In 1994, 300 000 commercial farmers in SA, 2011 39 000, almost now a net importer of food. However the land that black farmers moved off cos they failed is now run mostly by BEE Converted Commercial Agricultural Business with minority BEE stake holders. So effectively what was owned by many has been given to a few. Wasnt that what land reform was try to reverse?? In Sugar its Crookes Brothers, TSA and a few more. He's right they cocked it up, now whose accountable?

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-08-31 15:10

      Where I live, many of the failed farms are farmed now with white involvement, the big guys come in and fix things up. Yes, back in the hands of a few, and a black elite that do nothing farming wise really, they just get paid to have a black face as an partner. The labourers on these farms get no more than any white farmer ever paid them, so what was gained, besides enriching the already wealthy, and the lazy opportunistic connected. Its a farce.

  • Sedeshan Naidoo - 2012-08-31 11:16

    i say if it ain't broke, don't fix it!!

  • deon.vandermerwe.921 - 2012-08-31 11:36


  • gkleingeld - 2012-08-31 11:43

    Destained to failure unless our country starts supporting our farmers. Do you know that Americans can't believe our farming industry is not subsidized?

  • gerrit.vanpletzen - 2012-08-31 12:14

    Look at the article on the Drakensberger stock that were left to starve, because the money was spent on the world cup. That was a waste of money!

  • don.quioxte.3 - 2012-08-31 12:19

    Johannesburg - Around 48 pregnant Drakensberger cows were left to starve to death during the past month at the Mpumalanga government's farm Athole, near Ermelo, Beeld reported on Friday. The animals were part of a herd of stud cattle on the farm, which has been set aside for developing farmers. Members of the police's cattle theft unit, and the SPCA arrived on the farm on Thursday after they had been informed about the neglected animals. Within viewing distance of the farm's offices and living quarters, there were five rotting carcasses on the ground, while at another location, several cows had become mired in a swampy area and been left to die. "It was horrific to see. The animals must have suffered enormously before they died," an anonymous witness told Beeld. When workers were questioned, they said they had tried in vain several times to speak to the farm's managers about the lack of cattle feed. A large portion of the budget for the government farm, situated between Ermelo and Amsterdam, was allegedly used for the World Cup Soccer tournament in 2010, it was reported. Bheki Nyathikazi, spokesperson for the provincial department of agriculture, told the paper on Thursday night that he had not been aware of the problem. "The department will investigate," he said. HOWS THAT FOR LAND REFORM.

      terrylee.heuer - 2012-08-31 13:24

      I read it this morning so sad really I know of another story I read a while back just not sure where the farm was but the Govt gave people a chicken farm but the chicken were starved and started to eat one another the SPCA had to come in and put them all down I don't think they want to farm they just want the land with a house on it which they destroy anyway!!!!

  • kevin.moxham.3 - 2012-08-31 12:35

    Yes farming is a specialised profession requiring skills, capital and hard work - not everyone is made to be a farmer - not whites , not blacks, nor any others - wake up the ANCYL and our government......!!!!

  • klaas.waarzegger.7 - 2012-08-31 13:16

    So bek moet jam kry! Wonder net hoeveel van sy kollegas stem saam met hom.

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