Land reform ‘bedevilled’ by unplanned informal settlements

SOUTH Africa’s land reform initiatives are bedevilled by unplanned informal settlements, land grabs and invasions, Rural Development and Land Reform Deputy Minister Mcebisi Skwatsha said on Thursday.

Addressing Agri SA’s two-day congress in Pretoria, the deputy minister also cited multiple title registrations, tenure insecurity and “high entry barriers” among the problems affecting land redistribution.

The issue of land redistribution took centre stage at the ruling African National Congress’s (ANC’s) national general council last week, with delegates calling for it to be speeded up.

Mr Skwatsha said established farmers and the government would have to work closely for this to happen.

“As South Africans, we share a common country. We are here to stay together,” he said.

Agri SA rural development policy committee chairman Ernest Pringle said many Agri SA members were keen to participate in a share or care ownership with their employees.

Mr Pringle was referring to the contentious 50:50 land share idea that farmers hand over half of their land to their employees.

Last week Agri SA said it rejected the land share idea after Mr Nkwinti reportedly said it was now an ANC policy, they called it “unworkable, damaging to the sector and quite possibly unconstitutional”.

“Let’s see what schemes we have that are workable and we ask government not to be adamant about the way they apply it. You can’t just apply it across the board on a nonvoluntary basis,” added Mr Pringle

He said the federation refused to be bullied on any land reform issues.

“We want this process to be driven from the bottom up, not from the top down,” said Mr Pringle.

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