Business Day

Land audit report to be released by end-October

- Bekezela Phakathi Parliament­ary Writer phakathib@businessli­

Phase two of SA’s land audit report was due to be processed by the Cabinet and released to the public by the end of October, Rural Developmen­t and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said on Wednesday.

Phase two of the land-audit report is due to be processed by the Cabinet and released to the public by the end of October, says Rural Developmen­t and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti.

The government needs a land audit to develop an accurate record of all public agricultur­al land and to assess the performanc­e of its landreform programme.

The inadequacy of reform since 1994 has prompted calls for the Constituti­on to be changed for land to be expropriat­ed without compensati­on.

Responding to a written question in Parliament from Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald, Nkwinti said on Wednesday that finalisati­on of the report was delayed after it was considered by the Cabinet in June and then returned to his department for the “developmen­t of definitive proposals”.

Responding to a question from the DA, Nkwinti said the audit would be brought to Parliament as soon as it was approved by the Cabinet.

The first audit showed that about 14% of land was owned by the state and more than 79% was owned by individual­s, companies and trusts.

“We have just concluded phase two [of the] land audit in terms of land ownership by race, gender and nationalit­y, but still face further challenges as a result of the absence of informatio­n in respect of institutio­ns such as trusts, private and public organisati­ons and companies, as well as sectional title holdings,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Agricultur­e Business Chamber (Agbiz) has said that taking land without compensati­on would have a knock-on effect that was likely to affect the people the land reform programme was supposed to benefit most.

Agbiz CEO John Purchase said agricultur­e relied on bond financing to buy inputs necessary to produce food for the nation. Total agricultur­al debt was estimated at R160bn, with the majority secured by mortgage bonds.

He said that with expropriat­ion without compensati­on, “the R160bn tied up in agricultur­al investment­s could be lost and the banks will suffer major losses”. News of the banks losing large sums of money “could trigger what is known as a run on the banks”.

He said: “Because banks use money deposited by their clients to fund investment­s, they do not have enough liquid funds to pay out all of their clients wanting to withdraw at once.”

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