Release of state-owned land to be prioritised

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Deputy President David Mabuza says the release of government-owned land will be prioritised in a push to meet the objectives of accelerated land reform.

The Deputy President said this when he participated in the budget vote debate of the office of the Presidency in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

“Poverty and inequality are not only a consequence of historical injustices of the past, but the continuing skewed capital and land ownership patterns that hamper broad-based participation in economic productive activities.

“The acceleration of our land reform programme will continue to focus on improving access to land for agriculture, economic development and sustainable human settlements. The release of government-owned land will be prioritised to meet these developmental objectives,” he said.

Land restitution, redistribution and security of tenure will not only address the negative legacy of dispossession, but unleash increased participation of new entrants to enhance agricultural production.

“As government, we will streamline and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of post-settlement support to ensure that available resources deliver meaningful outcomes and impact.

“We will work closely with established commercial farmers to leverage existing knowledge and expertise that will aid our land reform programme,” he said.

Mabuza said given that the agricultural sector has the potential to broaden economic participation and mitigate the challenges of rural poverty, the productive capacity of communal land will be prioritised.

The Presidency will also work with traditional leaders to ensure that farmers in these communities are supported with requisite infrastructure, mechanisation and extension services to improve production. 

To provide the required political leadership and institutional support for the success of the land reform programme, the President has re-instituted the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform and Agriculture to speed up the implementation of land reform initiatives.

“The IMC will be seized with overseeing the implementation of the recommendations emanating from the Land Reform Advisory Panel report. The Panel has completed its work and is waiting to present the report to Cabinet,” he said.

Poverty requires a coordinated approach

Meanwhile, Mabuza said that rising poverty and inequality continue to pose serious risks to global peace and stability.

The United Nations 2019 global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) shows that 1.3 billion people are “multi-dimensionally poor”. The report also notes that Sub-Saharan and South Asia account for the largest proportion of poor people. 

“As a country, we are confronted with high levels of poverty that require coordinated and decisive interventions.

“What this suggests is that there should be a concerted and coordinated effort to address, not only income poverty, but other critical dimensions of poverty that include, among others, health outcomes, education and skills, asset poverty, poor quality of work, crime, gender-based violence as well as poor access to key basic services,” he said.

Women, children must walk freely without fear

The Deputy President called on communities to unite and collaborate with law enforcement agencies to put an end to gender-based violence and the murder of young children. 

Mabuza said women and children must be able to walk freely with no fear of being raped and caught in the cross-fire of gang violence. 

“The Summit on Gender-based Violence and Femicide that was led by President [Cyril] Ramaphosa last year revealed that gender-based violence had reached unprecedented levels in recent times, and that more and more women were dying at the hands of their intimate partners. This cannot be allowed to continue.

“As the Presidency, we will work in close partnership with all our social partners to implement the declaration and resolutions which were the outcome of that summit,” he said. –