Con­ver­sa­tions with lead­ers

of dig­nity and devel­op­ment

Public Sector Manager - - News -

Ru­ral Devel­op­ment and Land Re­form Min­is­ter Maite Nkoana-Masha­bane ex­plains why the is­sue of land is im­por­tant in the South African con­text

As the coun­try marks Free­dom Month, gov­ern­ment is forg­ing ahead with ef­forts to en­sure all that South Africans en­joy the ben­e­fits of free­dom, in­clud­ing the own­er­ship of land.

“Own­er­ship of land brings dig­nity and South Africa be­longs to all who live in it. South Africans should not feel like sec­ond rate ci­ti­zens in the land of their fore­fa­thers,” Min­is­ter of Ru­ral Devel­op­ment and Land Re­form Maite Nkoana-Masha­bane told PSM.

She added that free­dom also means en­sur­ing that the grand­chil­dren of South Africans in­herit land.

“Never again should South Africans be loaded onto trucks and taken to live in an­other area be­cause their homes are on land that is fer­tile. Free­dom means choos­ing where you want to live and that comes with re­spon­si­bil­ity and re­al­is­ing that there is no other coun­try that will pro­vide so­lu­tions to our prob­lems,” said the Min­is­ter.

She added that it was im­por­tant for South Africans to live peace­fully in a coun­try where the land is shared.

The is­sue of land came to the fore af­ter Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa an­nounced in his State of the Na­tion Ad­dress that gov­ern­ment should pur­sue ex­pro­pri­a­tion of land with­out com­pen­sa­tion.

Fol­low­ing that an­nounce­ment, a num­ber of op­po­si­tion par­ties sup­ported the gov­ern­ing party to adopt a mo­tion in Par­lia­ment to es­tab­lish an ad-hoc com­mit­tee to re­view Sec­tion 25 of the Con­sti­tu­tion to cater for the prin­ci­ple of land ex­pro­pri­a­tion with­out com­pen­sa­tion.

Pub­lic hear­ings on the mat­ter are ex­pected to start in May.

His­tor­i­cal in­jus­tices

Min­is­ter Nkoana-Masha­bane said the Land Au­dit re­port on pri­vate land own­er­ship by race, gen­der and na­tion­al­ity that was re­leased by her depart­ment ear­lier this year, re­vealed that black South Africans own only four per­cent of pri­vate land in the coun­try.

She said this was a di­rect re­sult of the his­tor­i­cal in­jus­tices that re­sulted in skewed land own­er­ship pat­terns along racial lines.

“I think that this needs to be fixed. I think it's in the in­ter­ests of all South Africans to right the wrongs of the past,” she pointed out.

The Min­is­ter sent out a strong mes­sage to those op­pos­ing the winds of change, say­ing gov­ern­ment will fo­cus on that which is le­gal and just, for which peo­ple sac­ri­ficed their lives for.

Min­is­ter Nkoana-Masha­bane re­it­er­ated that the ex­pro­pri­a­tion of land with­out com­pen­sa­tion is en­cap­su­lated in Sec­tion 25 of the Con­sti­tu­tion, which also takes care of prop­erty rights.

“We are work­ing with the Land Resti­tu­tion and Land Claims Com­mis­sion who are look­ing at the ac­qui­si­tion of land, the al­lo­ca­tion and

ben­e­fi­cia­ries. We want this to be a con­sti­tu­tional process,” she said.

“Gov­ern­ment has been will­ing to buy the land from peo­ple who ac­quired it but peo­ple are also drag­ging their feet.The will­ing buyer, will­ing seller model did not work the way we thought it would work.”

Since 1994, gov­ern­ment has spent over R50 bil­lion on the will­ing buyer, will­ing seller model.

To date 4.8 mil­lion hectares of land have been ac­quired through the Land Re­dis­tri­bu­tion Pro­gramme through 5 328 projects at a cost of more than R12 bil­lion. In ad­di­tion,

3.4 mil­lion hectares of land have been ac­quired through the Resti­tu­tion Pro­gramme.

The 292 607 ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the Land Re­form Pro­gramme in­clude groups, in­di­vid­u­als, black emer­gent farm­ers with grants and those ac­quir­ing land un­der lease­hold. Of these 67 699 are women, 34 410 youth and 689 peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

The Min­is­ter said the Depart­ment of Ru­ral Devel­op­ment and Land Re­form will con­tinue to ac­cel­er­ate land re­form within the cur­rent poli­cies and leg­is­la­tion while the Par­lia­men­tary pro­cesses are be­ing fi­nalised.

She also re­as­sured South Africans that gov­ern­ment does not be­lieve in land grabs.

“We have a Con­sti­tu­tion in this coun­try, which must be ad­hered to. Those South Africans who are in a hurry to get land need to know that land grabs are not the so­lu­tion and will not be tol­er­ated,” the Min­is­ter added.

Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa has also stressed that land re­dis­tri­bu­tion must be done sus­tain­ably and must not be a “smash-and-grab” process that dam­ages the econ­omy. He has also warned that those who seize land with­out due process will face ar­rest and pros­e­cu­tion.

She urged all South Africans, in­vestors and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to ex­er­cise pa­tience and trust the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of Par­lia­ment to han­dle this mat­ter ap­pro­pri­ately in the in­ter­est of all South Africans.

“We wel­come ad­vice…We wel­come sup­port but we are prod­uct of the strug­gles of South Africans. We will en­gage with the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity on the South African story.”

Re­cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion and Devel­op­ment pro­gramme

“The Re­cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion and Devel­op­ment Pro­gramme fo­cuses on hu­man ca­pac­ity devel­op­ment, in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment and op­er­a­tional in­puts on prop­er­ties in dis­tress and newly-ac­quired through the land re­form re­dis­tri­bu­tion, resti­tu­tion and other pro­grammes since 1994 as well as other agri­cul­tural prop­er­ties in dis­tress ac­quired with­out grant fund­ing,” added the Min­is­ter.

The ap­proach is to en­sure that the en­ter­prises are prof­itable and sus­tain­able across the value chain in line with the busi­ness plan which stip­u­lates com­pre­hen­sive devel­op­ment re­quire­ments of tar­geted prop­er­ties over five-year re­cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion and devel­op­ment cy­cle.

The sup­port for the new farm­ers

varies from pro­duc­tion equip­ment, in­fra­struc­ture pro­vi­sion, ma­chin­ery and im­ple­ments.

Since 2009, 1 496 farms have be­come part of the Re­cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion and Devel­op­ment Pro­gramme.

“This con­sti­tutes a to­tal spend of R4 bil­lion to se­cure some 651 strate­gic part­ner­ships pro­vid­ing tech­ni­cal, fi­nan­cial and in­fra­struc­ture sup­port to farm­ers across 1 421 846 mil­lion hectares,” she said.

The pro­gramme has cre­ated about 7 730 jobs of which more than 3 000 have been for women as well as train­ing for 2 937 farm­ers, of which more than 1 000 were women.

Erad­i­cat­ing poverty

The key driv­ers of the ru­ral devel­op­ment pro­gramme in­clude Ru­ral En­ter­prise and In­dus­trial Devel­op­ment (REID), Ru­ral In­fra­struc­ture Devel­op­ment (RID) and skills devel­op­ment.

REID fo­cuses on poverty map­ping, and the es­tab­lish­ment and sup­port of co­op­er­a­tives, en­ter­prises and in­dus­tries.

“This sup­port in­cludes mar­ket ac­cess, ed­u­ca­tion, fi­nanc­ing, skills devel­op­ment and men­tor­ship.

RID fo­cuses on en­sur­ing strate­gic and de­lib­er­ate in­vest­ment in the re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion of old, and cre­ation of new eco­nomic, so­cial, in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy in­fra­struc­ture, pub­lic ameni­ties and fa­cil­i­ties in vil­lages and small ru­ral towns,” said Min­is­ter NkoanaMasha­bane.

The aim of RID is to ad­dress ba­sic hu­man needs, im­prove ac­cess to ser­vices and en­able com­mu­ni­ties to en­gage ef­fec­tively in the econ­omy.

Since it was es­tab­lished in 2009, the RID pro­grammes have de­liv­ered over 3 000km of fenc­ing, cat­tle han­dling fa­cil­i­ties, bore­holes, stock wa­ter dams fa­cil­i­ties and eight si­los stor­age fa­cil­i­ties.

“In terms of im­prov­ing In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nol­ogy (ICT) ac­cess in ru­ral ar­eas, three ICT cen­tres were es­tab­lished in 2010 and a fur­ther 26 so­lar-pow­ered dig­i­tal door­ways, pro­vid­ing com­puter train­ing and ac­cess, were rolled out across the nine prov­inces,” added the Min­is­ter.

About 27 000 learn­ers in 88 schools had been sup­ported with tablets to im­prove learn­ing and sup­port teach­ing, help­ing close the dig­i­tal di­vide be­tween the rich and the poor, while pre­par­ing learn­ers to par­take in the rapidly de­vel­op­ing knowl­edge econ­omy.

Equip­ping young peo­ple

To en­cour­age young peo­ple to en­ter the agri­cul­tural field, the depart­ment in­tro­duced the Na­tional Youth Ser­vice Corps (NARYSEC) – a skills devel­op­ment pro­gramme.

Since its in­cep­tion in 2010, the NARYSEC pro­gramme pro­vided soft and hard skills train­ing, lead­er­ship train­ing to thou­sands of ru­ral youth and then sent them back to ru­ral ar­eas to un­der­take var­i­ous ru­ral in­fra­struc­ture and other devel­op­ment projects.

When the pro­gramme started, 7 000 par­tic­i­pants were re­cruited; cur­rently the pro­gramme has re­cruited 20 443 young peo­ple.

“The aim of this 24-month train­ing and skills devel­op­ment pro­gramme is to equip tar­geted un­em­ployed ru­ral youth with skills in or­der for them to be­come agents of change within their com­mu­ni­ties as well as min­imis­ing the mi­gra­tion of young adults to ci­ties in pur­suit of job op­por­tu­ni­ties,” noted the Min­is­ter.

The pro­gramme also trans­forms ru­ral youth from be­ing job seek­ers to be­come job creators in their own right, break­ing the vi­cious cy­cle of so­cial grants de­pen­dency.

Min­is­ter of Ru­ral Devel­op­ment and Land Re­form Maite Nkoana-Masha­bane.

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