Government meets on land reform

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform on Friday resolved that the approach to land reform must be based on three elements namely, increased security of tenure, land restitution and land redistribution.

“This would be pursued without undermining the productive use of land that is already restituted and redistributed, thereby ensuring that this process does not negatively affect economic growth and agricultural production,” said the Presidency.

The inaugural meeting of the IMC on Land Reform, chaired by Deputy President David Mabuza, was held at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

President Cyril Ramaphosa established the IMC which comprises of the Ministers of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs; Environmental Affairs; Human Settlements; Justice and Correctional Services; Finance; Rural Development and Land Reform; Public Works; Public Enterprises; Water and Sanitation and the Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.

The IMC is expected to provide political oversight and oversee the implementation of Cabinet decisions on land reform and anti-poverty interventions.

It will also coordinate, integrate and ensure accelerated implementation of the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Constitutional Review as well as the High Level Panel on Land Reform.

At the meeting on Friday afternoon, the IMC noted that the pace of land reform under the current legislative framework has been slow.

However, substantial progress has been made in ensuring that there is continued productive use of the land, while speeding up the process of redress.

The Deputy President called on the IMC to focus on the development and implementation of a package of post-settlement support measures to enhance productivity of restituted land, including communal land.

This, he said, would ensure that the productive capacity of the country is improved to respond to the challenge of unemployment and poverty.

The Deputy President further called on the Inter-Ministerial Committee to keep it in mind that the planting season is coming.

“In the meantime, we must therefore come with tangible programmes to support production in restituted and communal land,” said Deputy President Mabuza. 

Panel of experts

The IMC will be supported by a panel of experts to be appointed by the President.

The Presidency said the panel will assist in providing a unified perspective on expropriation of land in the wider context of persisting land inequities and unsatisfactory land and agrarian reform as well as urban land development and distribution achievements since 1994.

The panel of experts will also provide a diagnosis on challenges, and assess progress and limitations with laws, policies and their implementation to date, and develop recommendations and/or the identification of options for the way forward.

Public hearings

The Presidency said the IMC noted the successful on-going public hearings being held throughout the country that are overwhelmingly in support of this agenda.

It said the IMC encourages all South Africans to engage in national debates around the proposal for the expropriation of land without compensation. “This demonstrates and reinforces the deepening democratic culture of public participation in governance and legislative processes.”

Deputy President Mabuza said: “As part of enhancing the work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform, I will lead the process of engaging community sectors, traditional leaders, farmers and other civil society formations on the implementation of government programmes aimed at acceleration of land reform.”

Deputy President Mabuza will convene the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform on a monthly basis to ensure speedy processing of this important agenda of transformation, “given the importance of this matter and the growing anxiety in certain sections of our nation and the investor community”.

These meetings will be preceded by technical work of the Committee of Directors-General of relevant government departments to evaluate progress achieved in this important area of work. –