SA to limit farm sizes in rad­i­cal land re­form

Lesotho Times - - Africa -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG — South Africa’s gov­ern­ment is plan­ning to im­pose lim­its on farm sizes to free up parcels of land to hand over to blacks, a min­is­ter has said, giv­ing in­sight into the work­ings of a di­vi­sive redis­tri­bu­tion scheme.

Gugile Nk­winti, the min­is­ter of ru­ral devel­op­ment and land re­form, on Satur­day told Reuters the gov­ern­ment was plan­ning to set a range of lim­its — from a 1,000-hectare “small-scale” farm, up to the largest al­lowed, at 12,000 hectares.

“If you are a small-scale farm and have 1,400 HA, we will buy the 400, and leave you with your 1,000. We will buy the ex­tra and re­dis­tribute it to black peo­ple,” the min­is­ter said.

South Africa’s rul­ing African Na- tional Congress (ANC), fac­ing lo­cal elec­tions in Au­gust, has promised to speed up plans to re­dis­tribute land which re­mains pre­dom­i­nantly in white hands two decades af­ter the end of apartheid.

Some econ­o­mists and farm­ing groups have said the pro­pos­als could hit in­vest­ment and pro­duc­tion at a time when South Africa is emerg­ing from a ma­jor drought — point­ing to the eco­nomic da­m­age linked to farm seizures in neigh­bour­ing Zim­babwe.

They have also com­plained about a lack of clar­ity on how it will all work.

Set­ting out the farm size lim­its and specif­i­cally link­ing them to the redis­tri­bu­tion scheme may fur­ther alarm own­ers, par­tic­u­larly of smaller plots.but the gov­ern­ment says the redis­tri­bu­tion process needs to be ac­cel­er­ated, to rec­tify past wrongs and pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties to the pre­vi­ously ex­cluded, and has re­peat­edly said it will stick to the law and not fol­low Zim­babwe’s ex­am­ple.

KRUGER COM­PEN­SA­TION “In South Africa you have a con­cen­tra­tion of land own­er­ship in the hands of a few peo­ple. That is some­thing we have to cor­rect,” Nk­winti said be­fore a cer­e­mony in Kruger Na­tional Park where Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma handed over 84 mil­lion rand ($5.4 mil­lion) in com­pen­sa­tion to black com­mu­ni­ties evicted decades ago.

Ex­perts es­ti­mate about 8 mil­lion hectares of farm­land have been trans­ferred to black own­ers since the end of apartheid, 8 to 10 per­cent of the land in white hands in 1994 and only a third of the ANC’S lon­grun­ning 30 per­cent tar­get.

The party has said it will speed up the process with a bill go­ing through par­lia­ment al­low­ing the state to ex­pro­pri­ate land with­out the owner’s con­sent. sev­eral black com­mu­ni­ties had land claims on the 2-mil­lion hectare Kruger Park be­cause they were re­moved af­ter the Na­tive Land Act of 1913, which con­signed South Africa’s black ma­jor­ity to 13 per­cent of the coun­try’s ter­ri­tory.

But the gov­ern­ment wants to keep the Kruger, a ma­jor tourist draw and home to many an­i­mal species, in­tact, so its pol­icy is to com­pen­sate those with claims on it through cash in­stead of al­low­ing them to re­set­tle in the park’s bound­aries.

Perry Sambo, a 63-year-old school teacher who is one of the claimants be­ing paid, said his par­ents had been re­moved from Kruger be­fore he was born.

“It was very dif­fi­cult. Trans­port was very scarce and they did not get any as­sis­tance in what they wanted to carry.

And some of their be­longs they had to leave be­cause they could not carry ev­ery­thing. They lost also cat­tle on the way that were eaten by lions,” he told Reuters.

sa Ru­ral Devel­op­ment and Land Re­form Min­is­ter Gugile Nk­winti.

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