Accelerated rural, urban land reform key to growth

Thursday, June 20, 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa says accelerated land reform in rural and urban areas and a clear property rights regime is required to ensure faster economic growth.

Delivering the State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Thursday, the President said the country cannot turn its fortunes around without a relentless focus on economic growth.

“In the immediate term, government will accelerate efforts to identify and release public land that is suitable for smart, urban settlements and for farming,” he said.

In the stimulus and recovery package announced last year, government promised to prioritise funding for emerging farmers. Over the medium term budget period, R3.9 billion has been allocated to the Land Bank to support black commercial farmers.

The President said he had received the report of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture, which will now be presented to Cabinet for consideration.

“The panel’s recommendations will inform the finalisation of a comprehensive, far-reaching and transformative land reform programme,” he said.

The panel was appointed in September 2018 to support the work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Land Reform, which is chaired by the Deputy President David Mabuza.

It was set up to advise the IMC on a broad range of policy matters associated with land reform, including restitution, redistribution, tenure security and agricultural support. 

To support sound policy making, the panel was mandated to review, research and suggest models for government to implement a fair and equitable land reform process that redresses the injustices of the past, increases agricultural output, promotes economic growth and protects food security. 

The panel, which is chaired by Dr Vuyo Mahlathi, was further expected to provide perspectives on land policy in the context of persisting land inequality, unsatisfactory land and agrarian reform and uneven urban land development. –