Digging for answers in land reform

Land reform

What can the country show for the R69 billion said to have been spent on the Land Reform Programme, thus far?

Sadly, not much, Transform SA uncovered recently.

The Land Reform Programme is meant redistribute white-owned agricultural land to black people to redress injustices which resulted from the 1913 Land Act. The bedrock of the Apartheid Policy, the Act limited African ownership to native land (which then was about 13% of the country). Africans were prevented from owning and leasing land in white farming areas.

The Land Reform Programme’s target is to distribute 30% of agricultural land by 2014 – and we are already in mid 2014. However, so far, only 10% of land has been transferred.

Apparently, 90% of land redistributed to black farmers is no longer active. Those who acquired land through the programme are said to lack wherewithal to put it to productive use as erstwhile owners did.

The exercise’s oversight has been to concentrate on the numbers: the amount of land redistributed by certain dates instead of focusing on what happens to the land after it has been given to claimants.

Some have questioned the wisdom of allocating another R14 billion on the programme over the medium term. In all, the exercise will cost R83 billion.

Professor Nick Vink of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Stellenbosch has been monitoring implementation of the Land Reform Programme. Failure of the programme meant something was not adding up, he argued. “R83 billion should have been enough to purchase 58% of all productive agricultural land in SA.”

Vink is amongst group of people who believe the programme needs an overall if it is to benefit the intended beneficiaries.  “Land reform has been a failure in every single respect and this failure will haunt South Africa for the next 20 years,” he said.

One thought on “Digging for answers in land reform

  1. My next of kin in Free State are victims of this process. They were given a farm with minimal capital to tend it (use it productively). No training on farm management was given. Now the field is lying farrow, harbouring deadly snakes. Something needs to be done.

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