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South Africa’s land reform reported slow

David Mabuza, deputy president of South Africa chaired the inaugural meeting of the inter-ministerial committee on land reform which aims to provide political oversight and oversee the implementation of cabinet decisions on land reforms and anti-poverty interventions

The committee will also coordinate, integrate and ensure accelerated implementation of the recommendations of the joint committee on constitutional review as well as the high level panel on land reform.

The committee has received a report on the work done by departments of rural development and land reform, agriculture, forestry and fisheries as well as other relevant departments on land reform.

During the meeting it was found that the pace of land reform under the current legislative framework has been slow. However, it was also acknowledged that progress has been made in ensuring that there is continued productive use of the land.

Regarding this, it resolved that the approach to land reform must be based on three elements, namely, increased security of tenure, land restitution and land redistribution. This would be pursued without undermining the productive use of land that is already restituted and redistributed also ensuring that this process does not affect economic growth and agricultural production in a negative manner.

President Mabuza has informed the committee to focus on the development and implementation of a package of post-settlement support measures to enhance productivity of restituted land, including communal land.

The deputy president has said that this would ensure that the productive capacity of the country is improved to respond to the challenge of unemployment and poverty.

“In the meantime, we must therefore come with tangible programmes to support production in restituted and communal land,” Mabuza added.

The committee will be supported by a panel of experts to be appointed by the President. The panel will assist in providing a unified perspective on expropriation of land in the wider context of persisting land inequities and unsatisfactory land and agrarian reform as well as urban land development and distribution achievements since 1994.

The panel of experts will also provide a diagnosis on challenges, and assess progress and limitations with laws, policies and their implementation to date, and develop recommendations or the identification of options for the way forward.

The committee also noted successful on-going public hearings throughout the country that are in support of this and further encourages all South Africans to engage in national debates around the proposal for the expropriation of land without compensation.

Mabuza will summon the committee on a monthly basis to ensure speedy processing of this important agenda of transformation. The meetings will be preceded by technical work of the committee of directors to evaluate progress achieved in this important area of work.