Agri SA backs a land fund


The Citizen (KZN) - - News - Brian Sokutu bri­[email protected]­ti­

Pres­i­den­tial ad­vi­sory panel pre­sented list of sug­ges­tions to Cab­i­net in July.

Agri SA has wel­comed gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion not to im­ple­ment all rec­om­men­da­tions made by the pres­i­den­tial ad­vi­sory panel on land re­form and agri­cul­ture, say­ing it was un­der no obli­ga­tion to do so.

Agri­cul­ture, Land Re­form and Ru­ral Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Thoko Didiza said while al­most all rec­om­men­da­tions made by the panel were ac­cepted by gov­ern­ment, some were not achiev­able.

“In large mea­sure, the rec­om­men­da­tions were seen as the af­fir­ma­tion of the work al­ready be­ing done – giv­ing al­ter­na­tives on how some of th­ese pro­cesses can be un­der­taken.

“Other rec­om­men­da­tions made pro­pos­als on pol­icy and leg­isla­tive gaps ... oth­ers spoke to in­ter­ven­tions re­quired to address mat­ters, in­clud­ing co­or­di­na­tion among spheres of gov­ern­ment.

“There were some rec­om­men­da­tions that were not ac­cepted – not be­cause the is­sues raised were not im­por­tant, but such rec­om­men­da­tions re­quired fur­ther en­gage­ment of a pol­icy na­ture.”

The panel com­pris­ing land and agri­cul­ture pro­fes­sion­als, chaired by Dr Vuyokazi Mahlati, pre­sented a set of rec­om­men­da­tions to Cab­i­net in July.

Said Agri SA head of land af­fairs An­nel­ize Crosby: “We be­lieve a land re­form fund, based on a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship is es­sen­tial and that cur­rent bud­get al­lo­ca­tions for land re­form fall far short of what is re­quired.

“We also sup­port an agri­cul­tural devel­op­ment agency, of sorts.”

She said cost was “a fac­tor that needs to be con­sid­ered, but there should be a huge fo­cus on ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion. We think that should be done through pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ships”.

Bhekindlel­a Mwe­lase died six months be­fore the coun­try’s apex court dig­ni­fied his claim to the land that he had worked on as a labour ten­ant for most of his life.

Crosby quoted from a Con­sti­tu­tional Court judg­ment in the case of Mwe­lase vs di­rec­tor-gen­eral for the de­part­ment of ru­ral devel­op­ment and land re­form: “The de­part­ment’s fail­ure to prac­ti­cally man­age and ex­pe­dite land re­form mea­sures in ac­cor­dance with con­sti­tu­tional and statu­tory prom­ises has pro­foundly ex­ac­er­bated the in­ten­sity and bit­ter­ness of our na­tional de­bate about land re­form.

“It is not the con­sti­tu­tion, nor the courts, nor the laws of the coun­try that are at fault in this.

“It is the in­sti­tu­tional in­ca­pac­ity of the de­part­ment to do what [was re­quired] of it that lies at the heart of this colos­sal cri­sis.”

Pic­ture: AFP

FER­TILE LAND. The sun sets over canola fields in the Western Cape near Botriver. Canola, or rape­seed, are grown for the oil ex­tracted from the seeds.

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