Mashatile: Audit done of state-owned land | Fin24
 
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Mashatile: Audit done of state-owned land

Mar 07 2018 19:57
Carin Smith

Cape Town – In building a better economy in South Africa, people need to have access to land, ANC treasurer general Paul Mashatile said on Wednesday.

He spoke at the Future of South Africa event hosted by Bloomberg LP in Cape Town.

“If we expropriate land without compensation, we want people to access land to ensure productivity in the agriculture sector especially. This is to enhance economic growth and not the other way round,” he said.

“The debate on land needs to be seen in this context. It is to make sure people have access to till the land and to increase production.”

Even when working in urban areas he found that people ask to be given land so they can build their own houses and not wait for government to build more houses.

“I am happy with the way the issue of land is being processed in Parliament and by the constitutional review committee. President [Cyril] Ramaphosa has made it clear that we will deal with it in a manner that does not disrupt the economy or production, but deal with redress and injustices of the past - where people feel land was taken away from them in the past," said Mashatile.

"The good thing is that we are a constitutional democracy so people's views will be heard. It is very important that we deal with the injustices of the past. Land was taken away from the majority of the people who [now] do not have access to it."

He said government will also look at other aspects when dealing with the land issue.

"We have, for instance done audits on state-owned land. So, it is not just about private land when we look at access to land. We look at state land which is, for instance, in the hands of absentee landlords or which is just lying fallow," said Mashatile.

"If people are given land to farm, there must also be ways government can create incentives and support mechanisms. In the last years many feel the state made land available and people want to farm, but there are no mechanisms for it. So, we will look at supporting especially emerging farmers."

Corruption

Mashatile said the ANC has started to work on dealing with corruption since December and Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan is already busy addressing this at state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

“The future of SA is bright and great and the new ministers have hit the road running,” he said. “We are confident that SA is moving in the right direction.”

In his view, the greatest focus of Ramaphosa over the next 12 months will be on economic recovery.

"We need to get our economy to work, increase levels of growth and create jobs, especially for young people," he said.

"We want partnerships with everybody. If we think government alone will fix all our problems, we are making a big mistake. Yes, there are challenges, but there is a positive mood in the country we must harness to make sure even those outside our borders feel they want to come to SA."

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