Ministers to study Advisory Panel on Land Reform's recommendations

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu says Cabinet ministers have been directed to study the final report from the Presidential Expert Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture and revert back within two months.

On Wednesday, at its ordinary fortnightly meeting, Cabinet received the final report of the panel that was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in September 2018 to provide a unified policy perspective on land reform.

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. Chaired by Dr Vuyo Mahlathi, the panel 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.

“The report makes findings on the current status quo and makes recommendations that will assist in accelerating the work of government in redressing the historical land distribution imbalances,” said Mthembu at the post-Cabinet media briefing in Cape Town, on Thursday.

He said Cabinet had directed all Ministers, through their respective departments, to study the report and its proposed recommendations and revert to Cabinet within two months.

“The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform chaired by Deputy President David Mabuza will oversee this process,” he said, adding that Cabinet extended its gratitude for the work done by the panel and approved that the report be made accessible to the public.

The panel, as well as the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, together with the panel, are expected to unpack the contents of the report in a media briefing in Pretoria on Sunday.

Responding to the debate on the State of the Nation Address in June, President Cyril Ramaphosa said government is determined that land should be distributed to those who work and those who need it.

“[The Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture] will inform the finalisation of a comprehensive, far-reaching and transformative land reform programme,” he said.

Among the important tasks of the new Parliament is to finalise constitutional amendments to clearly indicate how expropriation of land without compensation will be put into effect.

“Parliament will also need to debate and finalise the Expropriation Bill, which deals with the modalities and the circumstances in which expropriation will take place. Expropriation is an important land acquisition strategy. It is important because it enables us to conduct land reform in a pro-active and planned manner. This frees us from a wait-and-see approach dependent on market sales,” the President said at the time. –