Nkwinti admits backslide in land reform

2011-08-31 12:41

Cape Town - South Africa has reversed gains in its goal of transferring 30% of commercial farmland to blacks by 2014 after aspirant farmers resold land bought for them by the government, a cabinet minister said on Wednesday.

The sensitive issue of land ownership has been brought into focus by the decline in agriculture in Zimbabwe, where many white-owned commercial farms were seized by President Robert Mugabe’s government.

Africa's top maize producer set the 30% target in 1994 as part of a wider “empowerment” drive.

“Figures we had was about 7% but about 2% leaked out,” Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Gugile Nkwinti told reporters ahead of tabling a draft land reform policy in parliament.

This “leakage” occurred because the government bought land and handed it over to aspirant farmers who then sold it again, in many instances back to the original owner, he said.

"So, more or less we talk about 5% (at present)," Nkwinti said.

He reiterated it would be tough to raise the R40bn required to buy land on a willing-seller, willing-buyer model to reach the 30% target.

The slow pace of redistribution has fuelled calls by ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema for white-owned farm land in South Africa to be forcibly taken over by the state.

Malema is fighting for his political life as he faces possible suspension from the ANC, but rural poverty will keep the land issue alive regardless.

Agriculture, which is labour-intensive, has been pegged as a key sector to help create five million jobs by 2020 but uncertainty has slowed investment and raised concerns about food security.

Many of the farms transferred to black farmers are standing fallow because they lack experience and support, although impoverished Zambia and Malawi have boosted maize harvests by small subsidies to peasant farmers, underscoring the dividends that can be reaped by targeted assistance.

The draft policy proposes restrictions on the sale of land to foreigners as part of a drive to accelerate reform without disrupting food production.

It also creates a quasi-judicial Land Management Commission that will have far-reaching powers. 

  • JustinX - 2011-08-31 12:50

    Is this not proof that whoever wants to farm and can farm should farm? Instead everyone is worried about skin colour in farming. Do I really care if my potatoes come from a black or white person? Food is food and dabbling with ideology will lead to destruction

      Nuck Choris - 2011-08-31 15:19

      and that has stopped the African from shooting himself in both feet...when!!! Destruction only happens tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes in Africa and is not considered. However, now and immediate without care or consequence and certainly no consideration for others.... now we are talking the Africa I know.

      Louisf1 - 2011-08-31 15:29

      I completely agree, I do not care the colour of the farmer. But what I really do care about is famine! Food production and ideology does NOT go well together ! I hope the ANC(YL) wakes up in time !

  • RonJeremy - 2011-08-31 13:03

    So the land-grabbers cry about their precious heritage sites, then they get their land back, are too bloody lazy to farm it, then sell it back to whites ??? Did I get all that right ??? BAWAHAHAHAH, what a joke!!!

  • Kwagga - 2011-08-31 13:15

    This is exactly what is going to happen, the white farmer sells his farm for R10m to black farmer with no support, 3 years later his bankrupt, guess what the farmer buys back the land for R1m, black says great I out of debt, but he still has nothing. The white farmer scores R9m It is the same principal with BEE deals & nationalisation of mines, the guy with the money(in this case overseas investors) is going to buy out these shareholders In 20 years from now the blacks will be in the same boat - no money, no shares, no mines no nothing,Question is are they still going to blame apartheid. Go & sit & find a better solution - this kite ain't gonna fly

  • Andre - 2011-08-31 13:18

    You reap what you this case, nothing. LMAO

  • Andre - 2011-08-31 13:25


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