Commercial farmers proposing models to implement land reform

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Deputy President David Mabuza says as government pursues inclusive land reform, commercial farmers have already come forward with proposed models of how the programme can be implemented successfully.

He also said that one-stop service platforms will go a long way to ensure that commercial farmers receive their much needed support “promptly and efficiently”.

Mabuza was responding to oral questions in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

“Successful and progressive commercial farmers have already come forward to present various models of how we can deepen transformation as well as the provision of mentorship in the agricultural sector. In short, our commercial farmers have made themselves available to support emerging farmers,” he said.

He said this was an indication that the land reform programme was gaining traction and that South Africans were willing to work together to ensure that the programme is implemented successfully.

He said this as Parliament is also ceased with a process of finalising a bill that will make it possible to amend Section 25 of the Constitution to pave the way for the expropriation of land without compensation.

Addressing members of Parliament on Tuesday, he said that government has expressed, on a number of occasions that it is committed to undertaking land reform in an orderly manner, a manner that will respect and uphold the constitution and ensure that the administrative action that is taken is lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair.

One-stop platforms to assist emerging farmers

The Deputy President said, meanwhile, that government is focussing on enhanced institutional coordination to ensure responsiveness to service delivery and support to farmers at local level.

“One-stop service platforms are necessary to provide the necessary comprehensive suite of farmer support services and ensure that resources that are earmarked for farmers reach farmers promptly and efficiently.

“This will foster integration and alignment in project execution, delivery of infrastructure mechanisation and funding support for farmers,” he said.

Land reform programme to address past injustices

Mabuza said pursuing the land reform programme is equivalent to pursuing justice for all, especially for those people who were dispossessed of their land.

He said this speaks to the national commitment of addressing the historical injustices of land dispossession by giving land back to those who were forcefully deprived of it.

“…addressing the land question requires that we ensure equitable access to land as part of the national imperative to build and inclusive and cohesive society,” he said.

Mabuza said as patriotic South Africans wanting to be part of the solution, there's a need to guard against those who want to use the land question to divide the nation by framing land reform as a race-based punitive act against white citizens who own land. He said this was far from the truth.

"Our people must have access to land for agricultural use, human settlements and for economic development. It is this reality that inspires us to resolving the land question to ensure that land is accessible and available to all…”

He said the land question requires all relevant stakeholders to work together. He says on a daily basis, government is engaging farmers who are pledging to donate land for redistribution.

He said some business leaders in the mining sector have donated land as their contribution to addressing government's land reform programme.

Government is releasing land that is in the hands of the state to advance the objectives of land reform, he said.

Mabuza said as part of building sustainable human settlements, there is a renewed focus in investing in key infrastructure that will support growth, mobility and connectivity. He also said land redistribution must be accompanied by investments in infrastructure like water and roads.

He said a well-managed land reform programme would pose no threats to the agricultural sector and the economy in general. He said it would, instead, broaden access to land and participation by new entrants in the sector will unleash additional productive capacity to enhance agricultural output and create jobs. –