Land Restitution Programme bears fruit

Friday, June 7, 2013

Pretoria - Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti says since the beginning of the Land Restitution Programme, a total of 77 334 claims have been settled, while a further 59 785 were finalised.

“Since the inception of the Restitution Programme in 1995, 79 696 claims were lodged, 77 334 have been settled, of which 59 758 were finalised. Land acquired by the state amounts to 4 000 land parcels, or 1.443 million hectares.

“137 000 beneficiaries are female headed households, and 672 are persons with disability,” Nkwinti revealed during the presentation of his department’s 2013 budget vote to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

The minister said a total of R16 billion has been spent on the programme thus far, in settling 77 148 claims, while R10 billion has been spent in land acquisition, and R6 billion for 71 292 financial compensation claims, which would have acquired 1.9 million hectares, if government had opted to buy land.

“This is a reflection of enduring poverty, unemployment, and income poverty in the historically disadvantaged communities. Between 1994 and the end of March this year, 4 860 farms -- more than four million hectares -- have been transferred to black people and communities, through the Redistribution Programme.

“Almost a quarter of a million people have benefitted through land reform. Of this, over 50 000 women, 32 000 youths, and 674 persons with disabilities benefitted,” he said.

In terms of the development aspect of land reform, the minister said 1 269 farms were recapitalised between the third quarter of 2009 and March 2013.

Nkwinti said over 7 400 jobs were created. The total investment by the State, since the inception of the Recapitalisation program is R2.14 billion.

“The investment supported emerging farmers with infrastructure, and strategic technical support. Historically distressed farms became sustainable and productive.

“With the support of commercial and strategic partners, emerging farmers are achieving access to good markets, and integrating their produce in the value chain. In December 2012, the net income from these recapped farms was R126 million,” he said.

Land reform entails redistribution, restitution, development and tenure reform.

The strategic objective of land reform is that all land reform farms should be 100 percent productive by the year 2015/16; and to rekindle the class of black commercial farmers which was destroyed by the Natives Land Act of 1913.

Food Production

In order increase food production in the country, the department will invest approximately R240 million to revitalise irrigation schemes on 5 000 hectares of land in Valhaarts, Taung; and five schemes in uMkhanyakude, Uthungulu, Mzinyathi and Zululand districts in KwaZulu-Natal; three schemes in the Eastern Cape, including the Keiskamma and Ncora irrigation schemes.

The minister said the department will also invest approximately R220 million to improve Animal and Veldt Management across the country.

This initiative will also contribute to improved environmental management.

Approximately R70 million will be invested in roads and bridges across the country, including bridges in Pniel, and in Wuperthal, Western Cape, as well as a bridge and road in Diyatalawa, Free State.

In the agricultural value-chain, investments of R60 million in poultry, R32 million in dairy, R100 million in the fruit and vegetable industry, and R300 million in grains, will be made. -