Agri SA backs a land fund
PRACTICAL: SOME REFORM RECOMMENDATIONS WILL NOT BE ADOPTED BY GOVERNMENT
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.”
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.