Train­ing es­sen­tial for suc­cess­ful land re­form in SA, says Phosa

The Herald (South Africa) - - NEWS - Nico Gous

UP TO 90% of land re­form projects are un­suc­cess­ful, ac­cord­ing to ANC pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Mathews Phosa.

He said some in­ter­nal con­flict and a lack of skills were some of the fac­tors that had con­trib­uted to this.

“You give me land. I have no skills. I have no cap­i­tal. I only have an emo­tional joy to­wards the land‚” Phosa said yes­ter­day on the side­lines of the an­nual con­gress of agri­cul­tural in­dus­try body AgriSA in Mul­der­s­drift.

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma urged land claimants in his state of the na­tion ad­dress ear­lier this year to take the land in­stead of the fi­nan­cial com­pen­sa­tion.

“Over 90% of claims are cur­rently set­tled through fi­nan­cial com­pen­sa­tion, which does not help the process at all,” Zuma said.

“It per­pet­u­ates dis­pos­ses­sion. It also un­der­mines eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment.”

Phosa said 70% of land in Lim­popo that had been re­turned was ly­ing fal­low.

“It means you are los­ing jobs‚ you are los­ing your food se­cu­rity ad­van­tage‚ your global com­pet­i­tive­ness‚ and you are not sell­ing things.”

For Phosa, the so­lu­tion lies in train­ing com­mu­ni­ties.

“For the com­mon good of the coun­try‚ South Africa must cre­ate jobs us­ing farm­ing‚ pro­duce its own food and be in­de­pen­dent of ev­ery other coun­try out­side.”

Phosa be­lieves there is a lack of po­lit­i­cal will to get South Africans in­ter­ested in farm­ing.

“Farm­ing is very ex­pen­sive. An or­di­nary black com­mu­nity can­not af­ford farm­ing‚ so you need risk cap­i­tal to sup­port the farm­ers and the com­mu­ni­ties‚ es­pe­cially the emerg­ing ones.”

Phosa sees a role for govern­ment in agri­cul­ture as an in­ter­na­tional ne­go­tia­tor with in­creas­ing glob­al­i­sa­tion.

“The farm­ers can­not re­solve those is­sues on their own. We need govern­ment to hold our hand and work to­gether with the farm­ers to open those mar­kets.”

Phosa said last month he would sup­port AmaXhosa king Mpen­dulo Zwelonke Sig­cawu‚ in what could be the big­gest land claim in the coun­try.

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