23 July 2014

South Africa: Govt Recommits to Fast-Track Land Reform

Government has recommitted to urgently accelerate the pace of land reform in South Africa, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti announced on Wednesday. Delivering the department's Budget Vote in Parliament, Minister Nkwinti said land reform must represent "a radical and rapid break from the past", without significantly disrupting agricultural production and food security.

He said the State must further mobilise resources to reverse both the human and material conditions of those displaced by previous land policies.

The minister said land reform must deal with the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality in rural areas. Furthermore, equitable land allocation and use across race, gender and class, must be ensured.

The minister also said the comprehensive audit of state-owned land must be completed urgently.

"We also reaffirm our proposals to replace willing buyer-willing seller with the 'just and equitable' principle in the Constitution immediately where the state is acquiring land for land reform purposes," said Minister Nkwinti.

The department will pursue agrarian transformation as a strategy to change patterns of ownership and control of land, livestock and cropping, and to uplift rural communities.

National Development Plan (NDP)

Minister Nkwinti said the NDP, which sets out the trajectory for rural economic transformation and development, is the roadmap for his department's programmes.

He said radical change must bring real benefits to working people and the poor across South Africa.

The NDP provides a long-term vision for accelerating development, so that unemployment and inequality can be reduced, creating a more inclusive society.

In the rural development context, the NDP seeks to ensure economic growth, food security and jobs as a result of agrarian transformation and infrastructure development programmes. Improved access to basic services, health care and quality education must also be a reality in rural areas.

Minister Nkwinti's proposed model is that each district municipality with commercial farming land in the country should convene a District Land Committee with all agricultural landowners in the district, as well as key stakeholders such as the private sector, government departments and government agencies.

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