Willing buyer-willing seller slowing land reform, says minister
Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti says the willing buyer-willing seller programme has hampered government's efforts to fast-track land reform.
Speaking during the Economic Sectors and Employment Cluster media briefing in Cape Town, Nkwinti said through the programme, the state was not a willing buyer, but a compelled buyer.
"It is government's view that the willing buyer-willing seller has frustrated efforts to fast-track land reform, distorted the market, made land price negotiations excruciatingly prolonged and increasingly making land reform financially untenable for the state," he said.
The minister said some of the additional challenges that have undermined the successful implementation include beneficiary selection as well as fragmented beneficiary support; land administration and governance especially in communal areas, the problematic restitution model and its support systems.
According to Nkwinti, a whopping R80 billion will be required to meet government land reform targets.
In order to revitalise and resuscitate land reform farms in distress and defunct irrigation schemes in the former homelands, Nkwinti said his department introduced the Recapitalisation and Development Programme.
He said in September last year, a total of 595 farms under the Recapitalisation and Development Programme (RADP) were at various stages of development.
Nkwinti said the progress recorded under the RADP includes sugar cane production in KwaZulu-Natal, red meat in Free State, North West and Northern Cape, poultry in North West, Gauteng and Mpumalanga and citrus in Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Western Cape.
He further said a cumulative figure of 823 300 hectares were acquired and redistributed since 2009.
"Seven thousand of these hectares have been allocated to provide the core estate for the Cradock Bio-ethanol project in the Eastern Cape that will be implemented in partnership with other departments, including the Department of Energy and the Provincial Department of Agriculture," he said.
The minister also announced that a total of 1.14 million hectares of state land has been surveyed in the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
Smallholder support programmes are being reviewed and a smallholder plan developed in line with the New Growth Path (NGP) targets.
These plans are supported by a diverse array of agro-processing programmes under the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP), including support for the soya bean processing, canning, bio fuels, furniture, and food processing industries, as well as small-scale maize milling in rural areas.
Regarding policy, Nkwinti said notable developments include the launching of the Zero Hunger Programme and the Aquaculture Programme.
Zero Hunger creates opportunities for the smallholder sector to grow by opening up institutional markets for their benefit, via the School Nutrition Programme, hospitals and clinics.
Nkwinti also reiterated that the consultation process on the Green Paper on Land Reform has been completed.
"The department, in partnership with the key stakeholders, is analysing the public and written comments. It is expected that the draft policy will be presented by the end of March," he said.
Nkwinti said while 2013 marks the centenary of the 1913 Land Act, the success of the Green Paper must be measured on the extent to which it mitigates and attempts to reverse the negative impact of the Act. - BuaNews