1 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
2009 SA LAND REFORM NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS
Table of Contents
2009 10 17 Grondonteiening ‘is nie kostedoeltreffend’ ................................................................. 5
2009 10 15 Spend smarter to save dry fields of land reform .......................................................... 6
2009 10 14 State unlikely to meet land target — Phaahla .............................................................. 7
2009 10 14 ‘Revolusie nodig vir SA om grondteikens in 2014 te haal’ ......................................... 8
2009 10 08 South African government plans revised farm takeover law ....................................... 9
2009 10 06 'New farmers just want land' ...................................................................................... 10
2009 10 05 Land reform a 'dismal failure' .................................................................................... 11
2009 09 08 SA farmers in new scramble for Africa ..................................................................... 12
2009 09 08 More than ‘my turn’ ................................................................................................... 13
2009 09 03 Freeze on farm equity schemes is no solution ........................................................... 14
2009 09 02 SOUTH AFRICA: Land reform programme unsustainable ...................................... 15
2009 09 02 Doubts about farm equity schemes ............................................................................ 17
2009 08 31 Minister scuppers successful farming schemes ......................................................... 18
2009-08-31 Land reform farms 'in trouble' ................................................................................... 19
2009 08 27 Land claim purchases on hold.................................................................................... 19
2009 08 21 South Africa: Reform Does Not Mean Expropriation ............................................... 21
2009 08 21 Land Bank woes continue as DA goes on offensive.................................................. 22
2009 08 20 Land Bank gains ground: New ways found to pursue developmental role ............... 23
2009 08 20 An emotive issue ........................................................................................................ 24
2009 08 18 Incompetence behind land-reform problems, says FF+ ............................................. 25
2009 08 18 Zuma launches plan to boost farming ........................................................................ 26
2009 08 18 State to bail out 283 emerging black farmers ... ........................................................ 27
2009 08 18 Land Bank ‘out of ICU’ as it returns to profit ........................................................... 28
2009 08 17 Land Bank does an about-turn ................................................................................... 29
2009 08 17 Zuma eyes changes to land reform ............................................................................ 29
2009 08 17 Joemat: Land restitution must be 20-30% ................................................................. 30
2009 08 17 Land Bank is out of ICU - Gordhan........................................................................... 31
2009 08 03 State should concentrate efforts on developing smaller towns .................................. 32
2008 12 15 Putting a lid on land reform’s Pandora’s Box ............................................................ 33
2009 01 23 Who owns what land in South Africa? ...................................................................... 38
2009 01 28 'ANC may trim development programmes' ............................................................... 39
2 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
2009 02 03 Land claims could cost SA R50bn ............................................................................. 40
2009 01 30 Mohlahlane lands R1,1m default judgement ............................................................. 40
2009 02 12 Land, agriculture get budget boost............................................................................. 41
2009 03 01 Govt gives up on land deadline .................................................................................. 43
2009 03 02 Land transfers halted .................................................................................................. 44
2009 03 02 Billions worth of land given to people in Mpumalanga ........................................... 45
2009 03 02 Bungled land reform costs votes ................................................................................ 46
2009 03 03 SA Land reform programme failing, state researchers .............................................. 47
2009 03 04 Govt to take over unused farms ................................................................................. 50
2009 03 05 Minister warns land reform beneficiaries .................................................................. 51
2009 03 06 Forced farming ........................................................................................................... 52
2009 03 08 Land reform a scapegoat for whingeing farmers’ other woes ................................... 53
2009 03 12 Land ‘experts’ lacking ............................................................................................... 55
2009 03 12 Grondhervorming voor uitdagings ............................................................................. 56
2009 03 14 Govt reclaims unproductive farm .............................................................................. 57
2009 03 17 Emerging farmers need help ...................................................................................... 58
2009 03 17 Land: 'Use or lose' rejected ........................................................................................ 59
2009 03 20 Land Bank chief's vanishing act ................................................................................ 60
2009 0321Staat se planne vir landelike hervorming is nie volhoubaar ........................................ 62
2009 03 23 Forum: Só ploeg die regering skeef ........................................................................... 63
2009 03 24 Fifty nine (59) Land claims outstanding .................................................................... 66
2009 03 25 Give land to workers - AgriSA .................................................................................. 67
2009 03 30 Strenger wetgewing kom oor uitsettings.................................................................... 68
2009 03 30 New farm invasions block aid [ZIMBABWE] .......................................................... 68
2009 04 08 Ostrich farm a symbol of SA's failed land reforms.................................................... 70
2009 04 15 Armed mob invades land reform project in Mpumalanga ......................................... 71
2009 04 16 State in clash over land-claim project ........................................................................ 73
2009 04 23 Land to be productive ................................................................................................ 73
2009 05 01 Bloedsweet by Gariep ................................................................................................ 74
2009 05 04 Land budget in trouble ............................................................................................... 77
2009 05 11 Land claims body to delist wrongly gazetted farms .................................................. 78
2009 05 14 White farmers take up land cause .............................................................................. 79
2009 05 14 Zuma gets off on right foot with farmers ................................................................... 82
3 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
2009 05 15 Faure emerging farmers face eviction ........................................................................ 83
2009 05 22 Joint venture in land reform bears fruit...................................................................... 85
2009 05 24 Landboubedryf: Nuwe minister het groot planne ...................................................... 87
2009 05 26 Minister raises hopes for land reform ........................................................................ 89
2009 05 23 ANC: Zille's land conspiracy just more hot air.......................................................... 91
2009 05 23 SA govt’s rural development project kick starts in Limpopo .................................... 92
2009 05 26 Deals may rob Africans of land, resources ................................................................ 92
2009 05 27 Court overturns minister’s land grab ......................................................................... 94
2009 05 30 Maak ’n einde aan die konflik en chaos van grondhervorming ................................. 95
2009 05 31 Motshekga calls for rural development to be prioritised ........................................... 98
2009 06 AGRICULTURE: Foreigners Lead Global Land Rush .................................................. 98
2009 06 01 San face land invasion in Namibia........................................................................... 100
2009 06 01 Second pre-election land transfer revealed in W Cape ............................................ 102
2009 06 01 Bloem land price blows up ...................................................................................... 103
2009 06 01 Minister’s ‘land-grab cronyism’ .............................................................................. 105
2009 06 03 Xingwana had success ............................................................................................. 107
2009 06 03 Zuma shows vision - Agri SA .................................................................................. 108
2009 06 04 Govt seeks land reform plan .................................................................................... 109
2009 06 04 Ander modelle vir grondverdeling bekyk ................................................................ 109
2009 06 05 Minister calls for a new look at land reform ............................................................ 110
2009 06 08 Department still trying to evict land beneficiary ..................................................... 111
2009 06 09 Minister: Land prices going up ................................................................................ 112
2009 06 10 Minister approves R3,5bn injection for Land Bank ................................................ 113
2009 06 10 Small farmers ‘need help with global markets’ ....................................................... 114
2009 06 11 Gordhan approves R3,5bn Land Bank lifeline ........................................................ 115
2009 06 11 Eviction case may sow seeds of reform ................................................................... 116
2009 06 13 Grondhervorming en landelike ontwikkeling gaan hand aan hand ......................... 117
2009 06 16 Govt won't seize white farms, says minister ............................................................ 119
2009 06 17 Min: Keep land for S Africans ................................................................................. 121
2009 06 18 Ministers give shape to Zuma’s plans ...................................................................... 122
2009 06 19 SA farmers’ union critices land reform plans .......................................................... 123
2009 06 19 Minister holds out olive branch to white commercial farmers ................................ 124
2009 06 19 Africa buys into subsidising own farmers ............................................................... 125
4 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
2009 06 20 Om ’n boer te word, moet jy hard kan werk & jou verstand gebruik ...................... 127
2009 06 21 Haal die emosie uit grondhervorming...................................................................... 128
2009 06 22 New model for land reform at Riemvasmaak .......................................................... 130
2009 06 22 Concern over willing buyer, seller change .............................................................. 132
2009 06 22 Concern over willing buyer, seller change .............................................................. 133
2009 06 24 Apartheid’s rural legacy and potential seeds of development ................................. 134
2009 06 25 Ways for Nkwinti to appease both sides .................................................................. 136
2009 06 26 Vested interests ‘blocking’ switch to freehold ......................................................... 137
2009 06 26 Nuwe begrip vir landbou lê voor – minister ........................................................... 138
2009 07 01 Gauteng to probe payments of R81m ...................................................................... 139
2009 07 03 Zuma calls for Africa agri-forum ............................................................................. 140
2009 07 10 Landbou ‘moet stimulant vir platteland wees’......................................................... 141
2009 07 10 [Landbou] Navorsing mag nie ‘aan agterspeen suig’ .............................................. 142
2009 07 10 Begroting fokus op nuwe boere ............................................................................... 144
2009 07 13 MP urges Land Bank to come clean ........................................................................ 144
2009 07 16 Bid to set up lodge hindered by inefficiency ........................................................... 145
2009 07 23 State land restitution drive faces shortfall of R3bn .................................................. 147
2009 07 29 Yet more delays await land claimants ..................................................................... 148
2009 07 31 Land reform's middle ground ................................................................................... 151
2009 07 31 Land restitution: Dig up commission’s crop of claim chaos so SA can grow ......... 158
2009 08 02 Wine estate sows land reform seeds ........................................................................ 160
2009 08 06 Digging in to reverse land reform shambles ............................................................ 162
2008 12 15 Putting a lid on land reform’s Pandora’s Box ........................................................................................... 33
5 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
2009 10 17 Grondonteiening ‘is nie kostedoeltreffend’
Onteiening is nie ’n kostedoeltreffende opsie vir grondhervorming nie, het mnr. Thozi Gwanya, direkteur-
generaal van landelike ontwikkeling en grondhervorming, gister gesê.
Hy en ’n afvaardiging van dié nuwe departement het ’n voorlegging oor die departement se vordering in
die eerste kwartaal aan die parlementêre komitee oor begrotings voorgelê.
Lede van die komitee wou weet waar die Wetsontwerp op Onteiening tans staan.
Gwanya het gesê onteiening is ’n doeltreffende instrument om die grond by die mense te kry, maar dit is
nie noodwendig ’n goedkoper opsie nie.
Hy het later aan Die Burger verduidelik dat ingevolge die huidige wetgewing rondom onteiening die
waarde van die grond in ag geneem moet word.
“Dit wet sê nie dat die departement minder geld vir die grond sal betaal nie.”
Ander aspekte wat in ag geneem word, is ’n tipe skadevergoeding wat betaal moet word omdat die
grond-eie-naar van sy grond moet afstand doen.
“Die departement moet ook die grondeienaar betaal vir verlies aan inkomste weens die onteiening van sy
“Dit is benewens die koste van die grond.
“Die departement moet dus ook betaal vir verliese wat met die onteiening van die grond verbind word.
Die formule in die wetgewing is baie gekompliseerd, want hoe bepaal jy verliese?
“Die idee van die nuwe wetsontwerp is om die proses eenvoudiger te maak – om te sê waarvoor die
departement sal opdok as grond onteien word en waarvoor ons nié gaan betaal nie,” het Gwanya gesê.
Die ministers van landelike ontwikkeling en grondhervorming en die minister van openbare werke het
volgens hom ’n komitee aangestel om die Wetsontwerp op Onteiening te herskryf.
- Die Burger
6 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
2009 10 15 Spend smarter to save dry fields of land reform
A DEPRESSING letter landed on my desk yesterday, highlighting the fact that SA has run out of money
to pay for its ambitious land reforms. It was written by the Eastern Cape Land Claims Commission,
informing a certain Mr Philander that the princely sum of R1270 he was due as reparations for his
family’s forced removal from a suburb of Grahamstown reserved for whites by the apartheid government
could not be paid. “The payment has not been effected, as the commission has no budget,” the letter said.
Philander joins thousands of rural communities, urban land claimants, farmers, game lodge owners, as
well as black entrepreneurs applying for land grants, who have been told that there’s no money to honour
their sale agreements, buy back their ancestral land or pay them cash compensation for forced removals.
The shortage of funds is probably the single largest obstacle to implementing land reforms. At last count,
the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform estimated that, at current market prices, it
needed at least R70bn to meet its target of buying 30% of white-owned farmland for blacks. It has been
allocated less than R30bn.
How to get land cheaper appears to have greatly exercised the minds of land officials and politicians of
late. The common wisdom is that the “willing buyer, willing seller” model is at fault and must be ditched
because it encourages land owners, who know the state is a captive buyer, to inflate prices. This view was
repeated several times in the past week, including by land reform directorgeneral Thozi Gwanya, when
announcing an expropriation law ditched last year would be revived, and deputy minister Joe Phaahla,
who complained of farmers, valuers and officials colluding to inflate prices. There is a lot of truth to this.
Expropriation expert Gerrit Grobler, at the annual congress of farmers’ union AgriSA last week, put it so:
if the state wants to buy farms that aren’t on the market, expect farmers to inflate prices. The same goes
for anyone who doesn’t really want to part with their property, whether the state wants to build the
Gautrain, a soccer stadium or a poultry project on it.
Grobler, who wrote the 1975 Expropriation Act and was legal adviser to legislators drafting its
controversial replacement, believes the solution is simple: expropriate, but be guided by the constitution
when determining compensation.
I agree. The importance of section 25 does not lie in allowing the state to subtract apartheid subsidies and
thereby pay below market value for farms. This is too difficult to determine anyway, and unlikely to be
implemented. It’s the fact that it requires the courts to decide on just compensation. As the courts have
already ruled the departure point should be market value, there’s no reason for land owners to be
shortchanged. But it will discourage them from inflating prices.
The Expropriation Bill was shelved precisely because it allowed officials, not the courts, to decide
compensation. According to Grobler, this was at the insistence of former deputy land reform minister
Dirk du Toit , who was worried about escalating land prices. The result was “an unconstitutional
absurdity”, says Grobler. Let’s not repeat the same mistake when the bill is revived.
Shortcomings of the “willing buyer, willing seller” land reform model are only part of the picture, though.
But harping on about it does serve a useful purpose for officials and politicians who need to deflect
attention from their own failures.
7 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
The colossal administrative inefficiencies of the land reform bureaucracy are well documented. A
community leader who had to wait eight years to receive a reply to a fax sums it up for me. The
commission naturally pays more for land the longer it takes to process claims.
Some argue a new expropriation law is also a waste of time and money. The only time the state is truly
held over a barrel is when there’s a land claim over a property whose owner doesn’t want to sell. And the
Restitution Act already provides for expropriation in line with the constitution in these cases.
Political pressure to settle land claims and speed up redistribution also resulted in reckless spending.
Moreover, by the state’s own admission about half of the land reform farms transferred so far have
collapsed or are in decline. Money that could have bought more land is being used to revive them.
But trying to establish successful black commercial farmers with a maximum land grant of R430000 is
wishful thinking. Grants should increase substantially, as should state subsidies on helping them access
credit, markets and technical support.
In the meantime, the government has failed to implement cheap, effective reforms that could vastly
improve many lives. Repealing a law preventing farms from being subdivided, expropriating plots for
farm workers, and creating agri-villages have been promised for years. So has giving people stronger
property rights to communal land.
We don’t need to tinker much with land markets to implement effective land reforms. Just spend more
Hofstatter is a contributing editor.
2009 10 14 State unlikely to meet land target — Phaahla
CAPE TOWN — The government was unlikely to meet its 2014 target of redistributing 30% of all
agricultural land as a result of the recession and the vast sums of money needed, Rural Development and
Land Affairs Deputy Minister Joe Phaahla said yesterday.
In 15 years of land redistribution — as opposed to land restitution — about 5% of agricultural land has
been transferred into black hands.
Phaahla told reporters that reaching the 30% target would involve “huge amounts of money” and “it does
not seem reasonable that we will be able to meet the target”.
But he insisted that there was no formal decision that the target was unachievable. He said unless
something “revolutionary” happened the target would not be achieved. And he insisted that
“revolutionary” did not mean anything violent or involving “veterans” — a clear reference to the
disastrous land grabs in Zimbabwe.
8 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
He did warn, however, that redistribution of agricultural land remained an imperative for the government,
which “has no option but to correct the current situation of agricultural land ownership if the situation is
not to get out of hand”.
He said his department was finalising the post-settlement support programme for all beneficiaries of land
reform and that R300m had been set aside for this purpose. This would include mentorship, skills transfer
and mechanisation. Food security was not negotiable and productive land that was redistributed had to
remain productive, he said.
The failure of redistributed farms remains a contentious issue, particularly the repossession of farms
which produce so little that farmers default on their Land Bank loans.
Phaahla’s department is in discussions with the departments of finance and agriculture about helping 400
farmers who are in debt to the Land Bank.
Phaahla also expressed concern at rising land prices when it comes to restitution. “It is interesting that
land prices skyrocket as soon as government is the interested buyer.”
2009 10 14 ‘Revolusie nodig vir SA om grondteikens in 2014 te haal’
Dit is hoogs onwaarskynlik dat Suid-Afrika sy teiken vir grondhervorming teen 2014 sal bereik, “tensy
iets revolusionêrs gebeur”.
Met dié woorde het dr. Joe Phaahla, adjunkminister van landelike ontwikkeling en grondhervorming,
gister erken die regering gaan sukkel om sy teiken te haal om 30% van die land se landbougrond teen
2014 aan opkomende swart boere te oorhandig.
“As die staat van 5% na 30% teen vandag se grondwaardes wil beweeg, praat ons van miljarde rande.
Enorme bedrae word rondgegooi as die tipe geld wat nodig is. Dit lyk nie asof dit redelik van ons is om te
verwag dat die tesourie dit sal voorsien nie,” het Phaahla gesê.
Mnr. Gugile Nkwinti, minister van landelike ontwikkeling en grondhervorming, het in Junie gesê R71
miljard word nog vir grondhervorming benodig.
’n Ander probleem is dat grondpryse die hoogte inskiet sodra dit bekend word dat die regering die grond
Samespanning oor grondpryse is volgens Phaahla ’n feit. Dit is nie net beperk tot grondeienaars nie, maar
sluit ook eiendomsagente, waardeerders en korrupte staatsamptenare in.
9 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
“Ons wat aan die voorpunt van die aankoop van grond staan, sê dit is prakties onwaarskynlik teen die pas
waarteen ons tans beweeg – tensy daar iets revolusionêrs gebeur.”
Phaahla het gesê revolusies hoef nie noodwendig gewelddadig te wees nie.
Dr. Theo de Jager, adjunkpresident van Agri SA, het by navraag gesê die grondhervormingsproses
benodig ’n “radikale herontwerp”.
“Tans duur dit drie jaar voordat die staat begin om hulp aan opkomende boere te verskaf – dít is waarom
plase op só ’n groot skaal misluk.”
- Die Burger
2009 10 08 South African government plans revised farm takeover law
SA’S government plans to resubmit a bill to parliament that would allow it to seize land from farmers if
negotiations to buy the land from them failed, according to a government official.
The expropriation bill was submitted to parliament last year as part of efforts to speed up the process of
handing over 30% of agricultural land to landless blacks by 2014.
But it was put on hold after opposition parties, farmers’ bodies and other civic groups protested, arguing it
was unconstitutional and would be similar to Zimbabwe’s land grabs, which were a major factor behind
economic decline there.
“The minister of public works and the minister of rural development are in the process of reviving the
discussions of the bill so that they can go and reopen the debate and the hearings (in parliament),” Thozi
Gwanya, director general of Rural Development and Land Affairs Ministry, told Reuters on the sidelines
of a farmers’ congress.
“We don’t have a timeline yet for when it will return to parliament.”
After the fall of apartheid in 1994, the African National Congress-led government set itself a target of
handing 30% of all agricultural land to the black majority by 2014.
However, much of the land has not been used for farming and has laid idle for years.
Land reform is an emotive issue in South Africa and has been brought into focus by the decline in
agriculture in neighbouring Zimbabwe where white commercial farmers were often violently evicted by
President Robert Mugabe’s government.
Pretoria has said its own land reform will be orderly, but critics say many of the same problems faced by
Zimbabwe, including lack of proper support for new farmers and inadequate farming skills, are likely to
hinder South Africa’s programme.
Gwanya said the government accepted it was unlikely to meet its 2014 deadline and was considering
extending the date.
10 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
“The minister has said to cabinet 2014 is not realistic in light of the budget constraints. We need R71bn to
complete the programme and it doesn’t look like we have that money ... so we may extend the date,” he
“Some of us are talking about 2025, but it’s still an issue that is in discussion at this stage.”
He said the government had so far handed over 5,2 million hectares of about 24 million hectares of
agricultural land that was targeted for redistribution.
“We still have about 19,8 million hectares that we should deliver,” Gwanya said.
2009 10 06 'New farmers just want land'
Cape Town - Many farms redistributed in terms of South Africa's land reform programme are failing and
falling into ruin because the beneficiaries have little or no interest in agriculture, says the Democratic
"Eighty per cent of the people [given farms] just wanted land," DA rural development and land reform
spokesperson Annette Steyn told a media briefing at Parliament on Tuesday.
She was speaking at the launch of a DA "Land Reform in Crisis" report, which highlights the findings of
visits by MPs to a number of farms that were redistributed in terms of government's Land Redistribution
for Agricultural Development (LRAD) programme.
Oversight visits were made to 11 farms in Limpopo, five in the Free State, and two each in the Eastern
Cape and Mpumalanga.
"Of the farms we visited, most went wrong... there was no farming activity," Steyn said.
Before and after
The report paints a dire picture of resettled farms in Limpopo, where, to date, a total of 195 farms have
been handed over in terms of the LRAD programme.
"The farms visited by the DA were, before transfer... financially and agriculturally productive. Five years
after transfer, the picture is very different, and some are in dire condition.
"Houses have been left to rot due to lack of maintenance and criminals steal copper pipes, electricity
transformers and farming equipment," it states.
The briefing included a display of photos taken during the visits, showing dilapidated farm infrastructure,
falling-down buildings and neglected fruit orchards, among others.
Steyn pinned the blame for the situation on the government, saying it had failed to apply proper selection
criteria when it came to awarding the properties.
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"Basically... there were no criteria," she said.
No govt support
Exacerbating the problem was that on those farms where new farmers did want to work the land, the
government was failing to support them.
"At none of the farms visited was there evidence of constructive, significant assistance from the state.
As a result, many of the farms are on the verge of collapse."
An example was a crop, fruit and dairy farm in Mpumalanga, which the government had bought for 248
beneficiaries in 2002, at a cost of R15.5m.
"No post-settlement support [has been] received from the department of land affairs. The farm is not
doing well as it needs a cash injection, and they do not have [a] loan facility. They are also struggling
with maintenance and equipment."
According to the report, a total of 2 864 farms have been redistributed for agricultural purposes
"Of those reviewed, 29% have failed, and productivity at a further 22% is declining. Should those in the
latter category also fail, more than half of farms redistributed by government will have failed."
White farmers 'not the enemy'
The report contains recommendations, including that people with a "background of farming or a love of
farming" be given preference when it comes to agricultural land reform.
Further, the government should purchase farms suitable for the type of activity the beneficiary wanted to
It also suggests fostering ties with existing farmers in organised agriculture.
"White farmers cannot be seen as 'the enemy' and must be made partners in this whole process," it states.
The DA says it will forward a copy of the report to Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile
2009 10 05 Land reform a 'dismal failure'
Land reform farms 'in trouble'
12 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Johannesburg - Accusations of farmers asking "excessive" prices for their land will not detract from the
"dismal failure" of land reform, Agri SA said on Monday.
The organisation said it was responding to alleged comments by the Rural Development and Land
Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti in Kwazulu-Natal on Sunday.
"The minister... lapsed into political rhetoric of accusations aimed at farmers to detract from the dismal
failure of land reform," Agri SA president Johannes Möller said in a statement.
He said allegations that farmers wanted excessive prices for their land did not take into account valuation
processes and market prices - which were beyond the farmers' control.
"We find it regrettable that the minister, in making these allegations, did not refer to the corruption,
mismanagement, clumsiness and laxity within his own department," said Möller.
"The rate at which land reform results in non-use or under-utilisation of farming capacity means that the
government's statements on food security, job creation, etc. are no more than lip service," said Möller.
He also said Agri SA had invited the minister to disclose the incidence of illegal evictions from farms.
"We are still waiting for figures on illegal evictions."
Möller said comparisons made by the minister between the situation in Zimbabwe and South Africa were
"uncalled for and dangerous".
However, ministerial spokesperson Elton Greeve said Nkwinti was raising these issues with a desire to
consult various parties included organised agriculture and farmers.
He said the minister's attitude was "these things, we need to raise them in order to discuss them. If we
don't address land reform, we run the risk of going that way [Zimbabwe]".
In terms of Agri SA, Greeve said the minister was engaging with the organisation.
"We have said we want to consult and the minister has had consultation with them."
2009 09 08 SA farmers in new scramble for Africa
LYNLEY DONNELLY http://www.mg.co.za/article/2009-09-08-sa-farmers-in-new-scramble-for-africa
South Africa is joining a “green rush” for the African continent. The Republic of the Congo has offered
Agri SA 10-million hectares for South African farmers to produce maize and soya beans as well as to
establish dairy and poultry farms.
Johannes Möller, president of Agri SA, says about 220 interested local farmers could soon be moving
13 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Agri SA has approached the government to enter into an agreement with Brazzaville that ensures the
safety of South African citizens and allows for the repatriation of capital and profits.
The idea is not to get farmers to leave South Africa but rather to allow them to diversify, says Möller. The
food produced is intended to supply the Congo, whereas surplus produce will be exported to other
markets such as the European Union.
The move takes place against the backdrop of an international rush for African land. Large tracts of land
are being snapped up by cash-rich but resource-poor countries, as well as by countries struggling with the
burden of feeding their swelling populations.
Whether it is land for food production, or as some reports suggest, for bio-fuels, alarms bells have begun
to ring about whether this investment in African land is a threat or a gain for the continent.
A report by the International Food Policy Research Institute released in April highlights a “land grab” that
has intensified since food prices hit all-time highs in 2007/08. Target countries include Ethiopia, Kenya,
Mali, Mozambique, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia and Nigeria.
“Food-importing countries with land and water constraints but rich in capital, such as the Gulf States, are
at the forefront of new investments in farmland abroad,” the report notes.
“In addition, countries with large populations and food security concerns, such as China, South Korea and
India, are seeking opportunities to produce food overseas.”
The report states that although some of the deals allow for investment in rural development, they may not
involve equal terms for both investors and local communities. And the management and conservation of
water and land resources are endangered by indiscriminate investments.
Herbital Maluleke, an international trade manager at the Agricultural Business Chamber (ABC), says
many African countries are cash-starved and very willing to take up the money offered by investors. “But
these countries will need to look at how these deals will affect them to ensure deals are not simply another
form neocolonialism,” he says.
There are advantages for host countries, such as technology transfer, foreign investment, access to credit
markets and infrastructure development.
Maluleke says South Africa, and particularly its private sector, is actively doing business on the continent:
several ABC members operate in countries such as Egypt, Uganda and Nigeria as well as across the
Interests include financial services and grain storage. Every time South African businesses cross a border,
says Maluleke, they take skills with them. “In terms of technical know-how and expertise we can compete
with the likes of China and India and we have been doing business on the continent for a number of years
so we have a head start.”
2009 09 08 More than ‘my turn’
It is encouraging to see Stephen Hofstatter engaging further in his column (Freeze on farm equity
schemes is no solution, September 4), the issues I had raised in my letter to the editor in respect of the
farm equity schemes (Doubts about farm equity schemes, Letters, September 3). While the media is the
14 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
“custodian” of democratic principles and values and a watchdog over excesses, it is not the sole custodian
of the “truths”, nor is it immune to personal biases and bigotry, nor is it infallible.
National dialogue on national matters (such as land reform) is imperative for the good health of our
democracy and I hope other South Africans will contribute to this (and similar) debates around, for
instance, the farm equity schemes, and that debates will not be confined to myself and Mr Hofstatter.
When the majority of South Africans voted the African National Congress government into power earlier
this year, it was, among others, on the basis of the clarion call around continuity and change — continuity
with regards to interventions that have sustained our democracy, supported our economy and knitted us
together as a nation. But also change in those areas where we could have done better.
A clear, committed and decisive leadership is required to effect appropriate interventions aimed at …
ensuring dignity, respect and freedoms to all … as promised by our constitution.
It is incorrect to reduce strategic and leadership interventions by ministers to personal, egoistic
prerogative decisions of “being my turn”! Basic understanding of the history of the ruling party will
inform even a novice of the centrality of collective leadership as opposed to the cult of the individual. A
review of government delivery, and intervention should be understood within the context and mantra of
continuity and change.
Equally important is the principle that you cannot always fix the wheels of a moving train, and therefore a
moratorium (as in the case with farm equity schemes) is important when you want to fix a programme.
Further, a good understanding of business risk is required.
Eddie Mohoebi, Spokesman for the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform
2009 09 03 Freeze on farm equity schemes is no solution
STEPHAN HOFSTATTER http://www.businessday.co.za/Articles/Content.aspx?id=80482
A KEY reason land reforms in SA have been so slow, ineffectual and haphazard is that each time a new
minister takes over the portfolio, grant disbursals are frozen for performance reviews . This applied to
every major programme introduced since 1994, including Settlement Land Acquisition Grants , Land
Redistribution for Agricultural Development and the Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy .
Last month new Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti decided that it was his
turn. He put equity schemes — whereby farm workers use state grants to buy shares in new or existing
farming enterprises — on ice.
All these programmes have major flaws that need fixing. While each product was put through a
cumbersome review process that admittedly brought some improvements, the department placed a
moratorium on disbursing grants that in some cases lasted up to a year. Workers, black entrepreneurs and
white farmers who had been working on project proposals for years were suddenly stranded. This has led
to mounting frustration on the ground, and sometimes sparked violent conflict.
The department’s rationale for Nkwinti’s decision to pull the plug on farm worker equity schemes is that
farmers get to recapitalise their enterprises, or even stave off bankruptcy, without having to part with their
15 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
land. Workers, on the other hand, derive “insignificant” benefits. Government statistics show the schemes
were responsible for only 1% of 5-million hectares it has transferred, and of 88 projects implemented
between 1996 and 2008, only nine declared mostly tiny dividends.
There is truth to this. Several officials admitted to me they were often ripped off by savvy white farmers
out to milk the system, including by gaining access to overseas markets that pay a premium for
supposedly progressive labour practices, while keeping exploitative power relations with their workers
intact. Some worker/directors I’ve met on these farms made similar complaints. But the same officials
also told me their auditors now scrutinise a farmer’s books going back three years to make sure they’re
not bailing out an insolvent, and that only the top 10% of applicants are approved.
It’s also a fact that share equity schemes have a much better chance of commercial success than farms
100% owned by workers in areas where land prices are exorbitant. In the winelands, for example, the
average price of developed land is R300000- 400000 a hectare, excluding improvements. If 10 workers
club together they can buy a 3ha stand of vines, which just isn’t viable, so their only option is to borrow
This is a disastrous route, as highlighted by recent announcements. This week Nkwinti told Parliament
that the government had spent R6bn on buying land for emerging farmers, but half had either failed or
were in decline. Last month the Land Claims Commission said 200 restituted farms were going under and
needed a R360m rescue package, shortly after the agriculture department announced it would throw 283
insolvent black farmers facing foreclosure by the Land Bank a R232m lifeline. At a time of rising food
prices and job losses, taxpayers cannot throw good money after bad.
That’s not to say share equity schemes are the panacea of sustainable land reform. Where land and farm
development costs are relatively low and farming skills relatively high, they are unnecessary. But with
highly capitalised, hi -tech farming they are usually the best option.
The trick is to increase empowerment without sacrificing sustainability. This can be done by making grant
disbursal subject to contractually binding conditions, including continual training in corporate governance
and financial management, and active management participation. Contracts should insist on majority
shareholding by workers and contain an exit clause for farmers. This way workers or their offspring will,
over time, become 100% owners of the land, and of a thriving enterprise too.
Worker equity schemes justifiably got a bad rap from past mistakes, but the same can be said of other
taxpayer-funded land reforms. Another moratorium is not the solution. It is time to stop reviewing and
Hofstatter is contributing editor.
2009 09 02 SOUTH AFRICA: Land reform programme unsustainable
JOHANNESBURG, 2 September 2009 (IRIN) - South Africa's government has acquired thousands of
farms to redress racially skewed land ownership, but more than half have failed, or are failing, Rural
Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti told parliament on 1 September.
16 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
The government intends redistributing 30 percent of agricultural land (24.6 million hectares) to black
South Africans by 2014, but by June 2009 only 6.7 percent (5.5 million hectares) had been parcelled out
and many recipient farmers were struggling to survive.
In a written reply to a question in parliament, Nkwinti said 2,864 farms had been acquired, "29 percent of
the 1,250 LRAD [Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development] projects reviewed have failed, and a
further 22 percent are declining."
Of the 1,250 failed LRAD farms, 362 were unproductive and an additional 275 were on the verge of
being unsustainable "if no agricultural support is received". The land reform programme so far had cost
about US$800 million, Nkwinti said.
Karen Kleinbooi, of the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of
the Western Cape, told IRIN: "The biggest problem with land redistribution is there is no real vision to
what it is the government wants to achieve with land reform."
Under apartheid 87 percent of farmland was owned by the minority white population, leaving the black
majority with 13 percent; reversing this situation has been a political imperative since the African
National Congress (ANC) government came to power in 1994.
During President Thabo Mbeki's tenure, from 1999 to 2008, the 30 percent benchmark for land
redistribution became a holy grail, resulting in often bitter spats between predominantly white commercial
farmer organizations and the government over the slow pace of land redistribution.
The arbitrary 30 percent target
Analysts say the 30 percent target has hobbled rather than enhanced agrarian reform, as achieving it has
overshadowed other considerations necessary to creating sustainable rural livelihoods.
The 30 percent target is not rooted in some sense of post-apartheid justice; it originated in a 1992 meeting
of local and international experts convened by the World Bank on behalf of the ANC.
"Two members of this team focused on financial issues, including the cost implications of a future
programme of redistributive land reform," Michael Aliber, a PLAAS senior researcher, noted in the
organization's quarterly bulletin in June 2008.
"For good measure, they considered three scenarios: a 10 percent, a 30 percent, and a 50 percent - these
were good round figures that captured the boundaries of what was thinkable at the time," he said.
The 50 percent option was dismissed as "out of sight", the 10 percent was seen as "politically
unacceptable", and the "30 percent option was a reasonable compromise. That's it," Aliber said.
He recounted a discussion with an "overworked" provincial official tasked with land redistribution, who
complained about how difficult it was to find beneficiaries.
"She was not suggesting there were no people wanting land, but rather that beneficiaries had become
necessities for transferring hectares, rather than hectares being sourced to serve the needs of
Kleinbooi said the failure of redistributed farms fitted "squarely" into Mbeki's era, but there were
indications of "a shift away from chasing targets ... and a shift towards more efficient land reform" by the
new administration of President Jacob Zuma.
17 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Policy decisions reached at the ANC congress in 2007, when Mbeki was deposed as the party's leader and
replaced by Zuma, placed a "new focus on agrarian reform, including the restructuring of value chains,
[that] is appropriate and much needed, given the complete neglect of these aspects in the past," Ben
Cousins, director of PLAAS, said in the organisation's June 2009 quarterly review.
2009 09 02 Doubts about farm equity schemes
Your article (Minister scuppers successful farming scheme, August 31) was sensationalist, made spurious
allegations and missed critical issues.
First, I can confirm the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has placed a moratorium on
farm equity schemes, pending the review of the scheme against the objectives it was created for, as well
as the overall performance of the scheme.
Farm equity schemes (FES), developed in the mid-1990s and largely implemented in the Western Cape
due to land prices in that province, were specifically designed to contribute towards the achievement of
land reform objectives by roping in private sector participation in land reform through equity sharing of
Focused on enterprise ownership structure, they were to give labour tenants, farm dwellers, farm workers,
etc, an opportunity to own land and agricultural enterprises, and by so doing assist to rectify the skewed
ownership of land and related assets, particularly high-value commercial agriculture and eco-tourism
Your article proffers FES as “probably the most commercially successful land reform model in SA to
date”, and for the writer the moratorium is “as a blow to the government’s efforts to meet land reform
targets…”. I am not sure where you got your facts.
First, by March this year the department had delivered over 5-million hectares of land, of which less than
1% was attributable to FES.
FES were to improve the substantive working and living conditions of the farm dwellers, and yet our
study indicates that issues relating to tenure security had not been completely or effectively addressed, as
some beneficiaries remained faced with the spectre of eviction .
Second , of the 88 FES projects implemented between 1996 and 2008, only nine have declared dividends.
While in most cases the dividends were paid many years after the FES contracts had been signed, most
dividends were as low as R200 to R2000 per annum.
The department recently met a delegation of businessmen active in the agricultural sector to inform them
of the rationale for the moratorium. After being briefed on the performance of the FES, they were asked if
they would invest their own money into FES, and their answer was definitely “no”.
Unequal relations between the equity partners, shareholding arrangements in the enterprise, due diligence,
etc — these issues need to be reviewed, as clearly we have our own concerns.
On average, farmers in farm equity schemes do not part with their land — they receive financial
injections into their enterprises — while farm dwellers’ lives, on the other hand, seem to remain
ordinarily the same, with insignificant dividends being paid to farm dwellers many years after the share
18 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
equity scheme was signed. Who is benefiting? Can this be reduced to “political unpalatability”. Not for
the millions of rural dwellers!
Chief director: communications services, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform Eddie
2009 08 31 Minister scuppers successful farming schemes
RURAL Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti has pulled the plug on farm share
equity schemes — probably the most commercially successful land-reform model in SA to date.
The department’s spokesman, Eddie Mohoebi, yesterday confirmed “a moratorium” on funding share
equity schemes was in place, although no official announcement has been made yet.
The move is a blow to the government’s efforts to meet land-reform targets while keeping highly
capitalised commercial farms productive at a time of rising food prices and budget constraints. The
scheme lets workers pool state grants to buy stakes in farm enterprises, and has been responsible for
success stories, including prestigious wine estates such as Spier, Beyerskloof, Nelson’s Creek, Backsberg
and Mont du Toit, and fruit farms such as the Crispy Group in Ceres.
In the Western Cape’s winelands and fruit-growing districts, where most of the schemes are, the
moratorium put projects worth an estimated R100m on hold. This at a time when government has pledged
to bail out 283 insolvent black farmers, who owe the Land Bank R232m.
The Land Claims Commission told MPs this month 200 farms handed to claimants had collapsed, and
R360m was needed to recapitalise them.
Reasons for Nkwinti’s decision are not clear, but analysts think share equity schemes are politically
unpalatable as they do not lead to immediate land transfers to black workers. The cash crunch at the
department may have contributed.
The farm share equity scheme is typically used where land prices are out of the government’s reach,
including export fruit farms in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. Winelands farms go for up to
R400 000/ha, excluding improvements, but grants are capped at R111 000 a person. Workers who want
full ownership have to borrow heavily, risking failure.
The scheme initially came under fire for giving farmers cash injections without providing worker
benefits, and eligibility rules were reformed. Workers generally own at least 50% of the business, only
top farmers are chosen as partners, and they must exit after 10-20 years so workers or their offspring
eventually get full ownership of the land and business.
Pretoria’s decision shocked provincial officials. “We can’t say to farm workers in the Western Cape:
sorry, land prices are too high for government — go and farm in the Karoo,” said one official. “It’s very
Consultant Louis Barkhuizen, who put together more than 50 big Western Cape worker-empowerment
deals, said: “These were the only grants available, so this will have a hugely negative impact on
empowerment in the wine and fruit industry.
“Everything has ground to a halt.”
19 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
2009-08-31 Land reform farms 'in trouble'
Cape Town - The government has spent more than R6bn buying land for emerging farmers and more than
half the farms purchased have either failed or are "declining", says Rural Development and Land Reform
Minister Gugile Nkwinti.
In a written reply to a parliamentary question, tabled on Monday, he said his department had acquired 2
864 farms across all nine provinces for emerging farmers.
"[A total of] 29% of the 1 250 LRAD (Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development] projects
reviewed have failed, and a further 22% are declining.
"Thus, 362 of the 1 250 farms are unproductive and a further 275 could possibly become unproductive if
no agricultural support is received," he said.
In addition, the department had recently completed asset verification on its Pro-Active Land Acquisition
"Approximately 127 farms need immediate agricultural intervention... to ensure that the land in question
does not become unproductive," Nkwinti said.
Among reasons identified for the farm failures were insufficient agricultural support, conflict among
beneficiary groups, and limited LRAD grants.
The department - which spent R6.25bn acquiring the farms - was developing a programme to give the
necessary support to struggling farmers, he said.
2009 08 27 Land claim purchases on hold
THE Land Claims Commission has placed a moratorium on buying land under claim until money can be
found to bail it out.
“There will be no new sale agreements signed until the money comes,” chief land claims commissioner
Blessing Mphela told Business Day yesterday.
“Willing sellers who want quick decisions need to know there is no money to pay them.”
20 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
The commission’s cash crunch comes as a recession is forcing the government to scale down spending
while facing often violent demands to ramp up service delivery. Restitution for apartheid forced removals,
though guaranteed by the constitution, appears to have slipped down the priority list.
The commission asked the Treasury for R5,3bn for 2009-10, partly to honour outstanding commitments
to land owners, but was allocated only R1,9bn. Its coffers dried up last month.
Farmer unions have warned the moratorium would have a “devastating” effect on farmers who had been
made offers already and had planned to resume production elsewhere. “The uncertainty it creates puts
food security and job creation in rural areas in jeopardy,” Bennie van Zyl, head of the Transvaal
Agricultural Union-SA, said yesterday.
Mphela’s remarks come a week after President Jacob Zuma said the willing buyer, willing seller model
for land reform was not working and should be revised.
Analysts have downplayed suggestions that Zuma was signalling the government’s intent to resort to
large-scale expropriation at below market value. The African National Congress knew this option was
neither quicker nor cheaper as it would result in protracted legal action and erode investor confidence,
The commission said it had little choice but to halt payments.
Outstanding payments for sale agreements already signed, including in the past financial year, have also
been postponed, even though this could expose the government to legal action and penalties, said Mphela.
“We know this is causing untold suffering to land owners, especially now that the planting season has
started and they don’t know whether to till the land or not,” he said. “The only solution is money, but
we’ve been told there isn’t any.”
The commission would continue to research outstanding claims on the assumption money to settle them
would be found eventually.
If Parliament decided the government could not afford to settle 4296 outstanding land claims — most
involving dozens of farms claimed by thousands of families — there would be “serious implications”, he
The commission has spent R20,3bn settling 75000 claims since 1995. This paid for 2,4-million hectares
of land, grants and cash compensation for 1,5-million people. “There’s no way you can stop now after
you’ve done it for so many others. This would open the possibility of huge legal claims against the state,”
But researchers and Treasury officials argue that allocations for restitution have declined because the
commission has not presented a convincing case for R65,3bn extra it told Parliament this month it needs
to wrap up its work.
21 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
2009 08 21 South Africa: Reform Does Not Mean Expropriation
By Stephan Hofstatter
Johannesburg - PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma 's remarks this week about ditching the willing buyer, willing
seller policy to bring land prices down are little more than politicking and do not signal the state's
intention to use large-scale expropriation to speed up land reforms, analysts say.
The land reform policy thrust under discussion is moving away from the large-farm land reform model to
supporting the creation of a black commercial smallholder class, in keeping with a resolution of the
African National Congress's (ANC's) Polokwane conference, they say.
This is supported by a policy document written for the Presidency this year by private research company
Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies. The document recommends the state becomes a catalyst in
developing a smallholder sector if it wants to create jobs in economically depressed rural areas. Land
reforms must focus on greater access to land for smallholders, and give successful black farmers
opportunities to expand beyond former homelands, the document says.
It makes no mention of expropriation or changes to the willing buyer, willing seller model.
"Government knows large- scale expropriation isn't feasible, even if they pass the Expropriation Bill later
this year," says Ben Cousins, director of the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (Plaas) at
the University of the Western Cape.
"They realise if you expropriate you'll end up in the courts, so it won't be cheaper or faster anyway," says
Cousins, who is contributing to a government green paper on land reform due out later this year.
The green paper committee, which held its first meeting last week, consists of academics, World Bank
officials, rural development and land reform director- general Thozi Gwanya, and other government
officials, including some from the Presidency.
Although ditching the willing buyer, willing seller model barely featured in discussions, the report is
likely to recommend reviving a law that makes it easier to expropriate property for land reforms at below
The Expropriation Bill would have allowed for expropriation for land reform at below market value if the
current owner benefited from apartheid subsidies. But it was shelved last year amid fears it would not
pass constitutional muster because it gave the executive too much power to decide on how much land
owners would be compensated, rather than leaving this to the courts.
Plaas favours using expropriation as a strategic tool in districts where speculative activity is making land
reforms unaffordable for the state. "If you expropriate one or two properties and let the courts confirm
compensation, which could be less than market value, it would send a signal to other landowners to lower
their price expectations," says Cousins.
Zuma may have had this in mind when he said the government was investigating "less costly alternative
ways of land acquisition" and a "more pragmatic formula to land redistribution".
22 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
But farmers' unions and opposition parties fear this talk could erode property rights. "If it amounts to
price manipulation and covert nationalisation, we have a serious problem with the approach," says
AgriSA president Johannes Möller. The union has requested a meeting with Zuma, and will ask him to
clarify the government's intentions.
Meanwhile, the Freedom Front Plus says Zuma is being "misled" by his officials that the slow progress of
land reforms can be blamed on the willing buyer, willing seller model. Spokesman Pieter Groenewald
says there is plenty of land for sale at reasonable prices.
"The real problem is the incompetence of officials, who delay the administrative process for buyers and
sellers," he said.
But other members of the green paper committee confirmed there are no radical changes to land
acquisition models under discussion. Area- based planning and the Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy
(Plas) will remain the two main tools of land redistribution, neither of which need to use expropriation.
Area-based planning involves setting up district forums, consisting of officials, estate agents and
representatives of landowners and the landless, that would thrash out local land needs and match these
with properties for sale on the open market. With Plas, the state buys up farms for sale and leases these to
black farmers, who have the option to buy after three years.
Both programmes will be used to implement the shift of prioritising support for smallholder farmers. A
policy document guiding the government's rural development programme launched by Zuma divides
them into two categories: subsistence farmers ready to embark on commercial production, and about
230000 commercial smallholders, mostly in former homelands, ready to expand. Both lack sufficient land
to enter or increase commercial agricultural production.
Success will depend on post- settlement support, something the government has proved incapable of so
far. But this may change. Agricultural economists talk of an unprecedented political will to use existing
infrastructure and expertise of agricultural co- operatives and agribusinesses linked to commodity groups
to ensure new farmers do not fail.
This was confirmed by Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson at the Land Bank's annual results
presentation this week. She said discussions were under way with agribusinesses to form partnerships that
would include "aftercare support" and off-take agreements to ensure black farmers had access to markets.
Original date published: 21 August 2009
Source URL: http://allafrica.com/stories/200908210008.html?viewall=1
2009 08 21 Land Bank woes continue as DA goes on offensive
The Land Bank’ has lost R16.5 million through fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the last financial
year, the DA said on Friday. This was revealed in its 2008/09 annual report, DA MP Lourie Bosman said
in a statement. The majority of the wasteful expenditure is as a result of “payroll-related payments” and
the late payment of utility accounts, Bosman said.
23 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
“Furthermore and even more disturbing, the Land Bank has been unable to pinpoint who is responsible
for the money lost.” The DA applauded the financial recovery the Land Bank had achieved, but said this
was overshadowed “by this kind of maladministration”.
The board noted that while most of the fruitless and wasteful expenditure occurred before the start of the
reporting period, “the bank continues to waste money where capacity and process challenges remain”.
As an example of this, the Board cites the fact that the Bank still incurs penalties and interest for late
payment of payroll-related regulatory payments and late payment of utility accounts. One of the reasons
for this was “a historical breakdown in governance structures and control...” The Auditor-General did not
qualify his audit opinion of the Land Bank, but did highlight the R16.5-million as significant and
problematic, Bosman said.
“Perhaps the most significant problem with this particular finding is that neither the Board of Directors
nor the Auditor-General were able to determine who was responsible for the loss or to identify how the
money might be recovered. “The report cannot determine what the money was wasted on but there can be
little doubt it wasn’t farming.” On Thursday, the Minister in the Presidency for Planning Trevor Manuel
said opposition parties should stop pressuring Land Bank chief executive Phakamani Hadebe for the
release of names of those accused of corruption at the Land Bank.
“As people are charged their names will be a matter of public record. Don’t ask him to be prosecutor and
judge in this matter.” A criminal investigation is underway into the misappropriation of R2 billion at the
bank, which finances emerging farmers.
Auditors blew the whistle on widespread wrongdoing at the bank two years ago, but so far nobody has
been charged. The finance ministry has given the bank R3.5 billion in credit guarantees.
Four forensic investigations into irregularities at the bank are underway — including a probe into the
alleged transfer of millions from the bank to black economic empowerment companies.
These have dragged on, partly because of the demise of the Scorpions and the transfer of two
investigations to the new anti-corruption unit, the Hawks.
A row broke out between the DA and the finance ministry in July when the opposition party accused
Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene of refusing to name Land Bank fraud suspects to spare the ANC
According to a press report last month, one of the suspects was a former Gauteng politician.
2009 08 20 Land Bank gains ground: New ways found to pursue developmental role
24 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
THE financial turnaround that the Land Bank reported this week is welcome. As welcome as the way the
bank is helping to reshape the government’s approach to rural development and agricultural food
There were years’ worth of fraud, corruption and general mismanagement to clear out when the National
Treasury took the bank over from the Department of Agriculture, and Phakamani Hadebe, the former
Treasury official who was installed as the Land Bank’s interim CE last June, is clearly making progress.
Various cases of crime and corruption have been referred to the relevant law enforcement agencies. Bad
loans have been written off. And the bank’s profit on continuing operations jumped to R369m for the year
to March, up from R219m . Much has still to be done, but the Land Bank is no longer the dodgy place it
It is also, importantly, developing new ways to pursue its developmental role. Although as a state-owned
development finance institution it was always supposed to be playing a role that private sector banks
could not, in practice it had been doing very little to promote rural development or black farmers. And
what little it did do was none too successful. That’s evident from the 283 emerging black farmers whose
defaulted mortgages the new Department of Rural Development will now take on.
The bail-out by the new department is one reflection of the new partnerships with key players that the
bank is entering into in pursuit of its mandate — and in pursuit of the new administration’s focus on
promoting effective economic development in rural areas. It will work with the government departments
involved. But it is also building relationships that could make for more successful new farming ventures
and give small farmers a better chance of survival — relationships with established agricultural co-
operatives, commercial farmers and agri-businesses.
The government recognises that just transferring land to black owners will not create effective black
farmers nor increase SA’s food production. New models are needed and the Land Bank looks well placed
2009 08 20 An emotive issue
There was consternation in certain quarters this week after a visit to Limpopo by President Jacob Zuma,
during which he said he was eyeing changes to South Africa's land-reform programme.
"The general view is that the willing-buyer, willing-seller model does not work. We will be seeking a
much more pragmatic formula to land redistribution," he said. "It will be a formula that should address
the issue as part of our country's ongoing effort at national reconciliation."
In response, the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) suggested that the willing-buyer, willing-seller method is not
at fault, and that Zuma had been "misled" by the incompetence of officials.
"The real problem is the incompetence of officials, who delay the administrative process for buyers and
sellers," FF+ agriculture and land spokesperson Pieter Groenewald said.
25 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
According to reports, Groenewald felt there was enough land for sale at reasonable prices. "But due to
[the] administrative incompetence of the Department of Land Affairs, the sales have not been finalised,"
Where between these two viewpoints the truth lies is something that has created heated debate. But what
is certain is that the issue of land reform is an extremely emotive one in this country, being closely tied to
our history, and which will have considerable bearing on our future.
Adding to the feeling of disquiet in some quarters over our land reform is the much-criticised and
sometimes violent programme instituted by our northern neighbour, Zimbabwe. From that, we have a
ready-set example of how not to do things, and have seen first-hand the damage an ill-considered
programme can do to society, the economy and morale.
Zuma's reference to the "country's ongoing effort at national reconciliation" is laudable, but he would do
well to engage all affected stakeholders before making public announcements on land reform. The
mention of change, without giving detail, caused some unnecessary alarm over what is an emotive issue.
2009 08 18 Incompetence behind land-reform problems, says FF+
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
President Jacob Zuma is being "misled" by the incompetence of government officials into believing the
willing-buyer, willing-seller principle is stalling land reform, the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) said on
"President Jacob Zuma is being misled as if the willing-buyer, willing-seller principle is the actual
problem of land reform.
"The real problem is the incompetence of officials, who delay the administrative process for buyers and
sellers," FF+ agriculture and land spokesperson Pieter Groenewald said in a statement.
Zuma has said the government is seeking a more "pragmatic" formula for land redistribution, and, to
move forward decisively, "significant changes will have to be made to the willing-buyer, willing-seller
Groenewald said there was more than enough land being offered for sale at a reasonable price.
"But due to [the] administrative incompetence of the Department of Land Affairs, the sales have not been
To ensure the success of land reform, the government should first redistribute existing unused state land.
Thereafter, there should be proper control over existing land-reform projects.
Close to half the agricultural land-reform projects had failed.
"The willing-buyer, willing-seller principle is being abused to hide incompetence," Groenewald said. --
26 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
2009 08 18 Zuma launches plan to boost farming
KARIMA BROWN http://www.businessday.co.za/Articles/Content.aspx?id=78798
PRIORITY: President Jacob Zuma at the launch of the National Comprehensive Rural Development
Programme in Giyani, Limpopo, yesterday. The plan focuses on land and agrarian reform, and food
security. Picture: NGIZOZO JIYANE
THE government had pledged more than R2,6bn in conditional grants to provinces, which would in part
be used for agricultural infrastructure, President Jacob Zuma said yesterday.
The funds would also be used for training and advisory services, marketing and the upgrading of
Zuma was speaking at the launch of the government’s National Comprehensive Rural Development
Programme in Giyani, Limpopo.
Former homeland areas look set to become a central focus of the state’s rural development programme.
The new administration came to power in part on a ticket of speedier rural development, which the
African National Congress has identified as one of the five priorities of the state’s medium-term strategic
In his state of the nation speech in June, Zuma said he would develop and implement a comprehensive
rural development strategy linked to land and agrarian reform as well as food security. The creation of a
Department of Rural Development and Land Affairs to drive the state’s reform programme was central to
implementing the strategy, he said .
The state said one of the priorities was to ensure that land reform through redistribution and restitution
was more coherently “linked” to the creation of livelihoods for the poor.
“Land is linked to development in rural areas. We have recognised that in order to move forward
decisively with the land redistribution programme, significant changes will have to be made to the
willing-buyer, willing-seller model ,” he said.
Zuma said the state would have to investigate “less costly” ways of land acquisition, by talking to all
concerned, admitting the willing-buyer, willing-seller model did not work.
He said the state would seek a more “pragmatic” formula to land redistribution, but this formula would
not be a “super-profitmaking” business venture.
Another crucial issue was food security. The government said any rural development strategy would have
to include ways to stimulate agricultural production with a view to contributing to food security.
Zuma said the state would support the provision of agricultural implements and inputs to buttress
emerging farmers and households.
“We must also make agricultural loans accessible and ensure agricultural extension services of a high
quality. Over the medium term, the aim is to bring about a measurable increase in agricultural output.”
27 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
One way of promoting food security would be to protect valuable agricultural land from encroachment by
Zuma said while the authorities would be encouraging communities to grow their own food, measures
would be applied to ensure “access” by poor households to basic foods at affordable prices and to
improve the logistics of food distribution.
He said the government would improve service delivery and departments would develop “spatially
targeted strategies” to respond to the needs of rural areas .
2009 08 18 State to bail out 283 emerging black farmers ...
STEPHAN HOFSTATTER http://www.businessday.co.za/Articles/Content.aspx?id=78782
THE government would bail out 283 emerging farmers on whom the Land Bank was poised to foreclose
as part of a joint support package by the finance, agriculture and land ministries, Agriculture Minister
Tina Joemat-Pettersson said yesterday.
The defaulting farmers own 88000ha throughout SA and owe the Land Bank R232m.
MPs warned last month that Land Bank repossessions of black-owned farms could reverse hard-won land
reforms if they were bought back by whites. But the Land Bank said reinstating a moratorium on
collecting on loans to black farmers would cost the lender R1,2bn a year and leave it insolvent within
At the bank’s annual results presentation in Midrand yesterday, Joemat-Pettersson announced that the
Department of Rural Development and Land Reform would take over the mortgages and lease the farms
back to emerging farmers.
“The essence here is to ensure that the right farmers are allocated farms, who will be given proper support
to farm in a sustainable manner.”
If new recipients did not “display farming and business mettle, the farms would be offered to other eager
farmers so that the sector could maintain and increase production capacity,” the minister said.
Budget allocations are still being thrashed out.
A griculture has pledged a R146m support package for emerging farmers, part of which will cover
production loans estimated at R23m for those defaulting on Land Bank loans.
Asked what steps the government was taking to ensure emerging farmers did not fail again, she said each
case would be analysed individually and support tailored “across the value chain, including in marketing
and financial management”.
“This money could have been allocated to other projects, so we must make sure it works,” she said . “We
28 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Anecdotal evidence suggests efforts at leasing state farms to blacks to speed up land reforms are riddled
with administrative inefficiencies.
Lease agreements sometimes arrive too late to secure production credit and offtake contracts with food
processors in time for the planting season, and promised support is often inappropriate.
But industry players said the government and the Land Bank were showing unprecedented commitment to
form partnerships with agricultural co-operatives and agribusinesses to improve performance in these
“For the first time I feel there is a vision and a will to make things happen,” John Purchase, CEO of the
Agricultural Business Chamber, told Business Day yesterday.
The Chamber met the Land Bank last week to discuss clinching service- level agreements to manage risk
in its development lending portfolio, he said. “If managed correctly, this would enable a very necessary
turnaround on its non-performing loans book.”
The bank yesterday posted a profit for the first time in five years, but non- performing loans increased
from R3,4bn to R3,9bn.
2009 08 18 Land Bank ‘out of ICU’ as it returns to profit
Stephan Hofstatter http://www.businessday.co.za/Articles/Content.aspx?id=78796
THE Land Bank has posted a profit one year after the National Treasury took control when it was close to
collapse, writes Stephan Hofstatter.
This was the first time the bank received an unqualified audit or showed a profit in five years —
suggesting its turnaround strategy was bearing fruit.
The bank reported a profit of R241m yesterday, compared with losses ranging from R20m to R208m
The bank also collected R1,1bn on non performing loans of which R461m came from KwaZulu-Natal
sugar mill Ushuk ela.
The loan was previously at risk of being written off.
“The bank is out of ICU,” Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said at the annual results presentation.
“Hopefully it will be out of hospital shortly.”
Key sticking points include unresolved fraud cases, a declining loan book and an increase in non
Gordhan said he had met fraud investigators recently and encouraged them to bring perpetrators to book.
“I am as anxious as anyone else that these arrests take place.”
29 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Petterss on said 283 emerging farmers, who owed R232m, would be
bailed out by the government.
2009 08 17 Land Bank does an about-turn
I-Net Bridge, HTTP://WWW.BUSINESSDAY.CO.ZA/ARTICLES/CONTENT.ASPX?ID=78702
Land Bank CEO, Phakamani Hadebe. Photo: Business Day
THE embattled Land Bank has done something of an about-turn and returned to a clean audit report with
improved financial performance to boot, it was revealed today at Gallagher Estate.
The Bank reported a profit of R241 million in the 2008/09 financial year, with a profit of R166 million
being seen at group level. The bank loss was R20 million a year earlier, while a group profit of R17.5
million had been seen in the previous year.
An improvement in the cost to income ratio was reported to 55% from 77% before.
A net cash position of R3.5bn was reported from R0.8bn before, while capital adequacy was 23% off a
target of 20%.
However, a loss from insurance operations of R74.3 million was recorded from a profit of R37.3 million
in the previous financial year.
According to the Bank's CEO, Phakamani Hadebe, the improved performance is as a result of the
turnaround strategy implemented since July 2008.
He says this does not mean the Bank is out of the woods yet, but some fruits are beginning to be borne.
"The target now is to consolidate our gains and grow our loan book to sustainable levels," said Hadebe.
Prior to these results the Bank was regularly in the news for the wrong reasons, instability due to
corporate governance and risk management problems.
2009 08 17 Zuma eyes changes to land reform
MICHAEL HAMLYN | CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
President Jacob Zuma on Monday declared unequivocally that his government is planning to make
"significant changes" to the willing-buyer, willing-seller method of land redistribution.
Speaking in Limpopo, he said at the official launch of his government's comprehensive rural development
policy: "We have recognised that in order to move forward decisively with the land-redistribution
programme, significant changes will have to be made."
He said that in order to move ahead with land reform, the government will have to "investigate less costly
alternative ways of land acquisition, by engaging with all stakeholders within the sector".
30 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
He added: "The general view is that the willing-buyer, willing seller-model does not work. We will be
seeking a much more pragmatic formula to land redistribution.
"It will be a formula that should address the issue as part of our country's ongoing effort at national
And he warned: "It should not be seen as a super-profit-making business venture."
The president told his audience that a critical part of the rural development strategy, which was approved
by the Cabinet last week, is to stimulate agricultural production with a view to contributing to food
security, and he promised that the government will support the provision of agricultural implements and
inputs to boost emerging farmers and households nationally.
"We must also make agricultural loans accessible and ensure agricultural extension services of a high
quality," he said.
"Over the medium term, the aim is to bring about a measurable increase in agricultural output."
He said that the Ilima/Letsema campaign -- which helps recultivate land that has been lying idle -- will be
intensified to enhance household food security. Other farmland will be protected from encroachment by
"While we focus on encouraging communities to grow their own food, measures will also be put in place
to ensure access by poor households to basic foods at affordable prices; and generally to improve the
logistics of food distribution," he said. He also undertook to promote rural transport infrastructure and
"This will include non-motorised transport infrastructure, provision of rural transport passenger facilities
and rural freight transport logistics," he said. "It pains us to see women carrying groceries walking long
distances from the taxi drop-off point to their homes. Many rural school children also walk unimaginable
distances to schools due to lack of proper roads and lack of transport." -- I-Net Bridge
2009 08 17 Joemat: Land restitution must be 20-30%
TINA Joemat-Petersson, Minister of Agriculture, says she wants to see land restitution move frm 10% to
the 20-30% targets, but this does not mean money will simply be thrown at the problem. And government
will not just bail out distressed farmers who are not willing to put their shoulders to the wheel.
"Farmers will be given support – but farmers must be willing and able to farm. Others will fall by the
wayside," she said.
She noted that ownership of farms bought back from the Land Bank would lie with the government.
She spoke about how the Land Bank borrows funds and must repay liabilities to investors and how farms
will be leased back to the farmers.
31 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
She says there are approximately 283 development farmers that are classified as legal. The amount
outstanding here is R232 million.
She said it was essential to ensure the right farmers are allocated farms and if they do not display financial
and farming mettle, farms will be given to other qualifying and keen farmers.
"The strategy is not limited to farmers in distress," she said.
"There are still areas we need to move on," concluded Joemat-Petersson.
She says there is a comprehensive package in place for the 283 development farmers. But insisted this
meant a turnaround strategy must be in place. She said some of the farms had been abandoned before and
were thus in a state of disrepair. Her department thus had intervention strategies in place and was
watching developments closely.
2009 08 17 Land Bank is out of ICU - Gordhan
I-Net Bridge http://www.businessday.co.za/Articles/Content.aspx?id=78757
MINISTER of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, said today that the Land Bank is out of ICU and hopefully will
be out of hospital shortly. "But they will have to convince all of us they have what it takes to get out of
hospital sooner rather than later," he said.
"We look forward to further progress on its road to sustainability," he said. Gordhan, however, made the
commitment that a new level of collaboration will be seen to ensure the right things are done. But he
quickly added that this does not mean the state's resources are abused.
A R3,5bn increased guarantee has been provided from government – which is envisaged as a viable
conduit to promote economic development in rural areas. Gordhan also said that the Land Bank entered
this period with a huge cloud over its head; four forensic reports had been commissioned and they have
been submitted to police units. "There have been some positive developments in respect of these
investigations. What I want to assure the SA public is we will leave no stone unturned to uncover the
complexity of the web and the financial machinations that went into developing these financial schemes,
and sooner rather than later we will bring the culprits to book," said Gordhan.
He said that while the balance sheet of the Land Bank is in a healthier state, there is still a tough road to
walk ahead. He said the policy of Bank must be to ensure its own financial stability. But he said
repossessions should only engaged in as the last resort. "Other government programmes must come to the
party and work with the Land Bank to ensure the sustainability of those not in good financial positions,"
Gordhan said that agricultural development is a key plank in the new government's strategy and
collaboration, and support will not be in short supply going forward.
32 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
2009 08 03 State should concentrate efforts on developing smaller towns
LAND EMPOWERMENT: Khanyi Mvandaba stands on farmland , part of a R5m investment which will
harvest as much as R7,5m this season alone. Picture: GARY HORLOR
IF THE government is serious about truly denting SA’s high poverty levels, it needs to start finding
effective ways to economically uplift the population of SA’s small towns.
In SA, and across the globe, the economic significance of small and medium-sized towns is often ignored,
with governments instead pumping resources into metro areas and other large centres.
However, a group of academics has established a committee to investigate the advantages of small town
development, which they say is an important link to the development of rural regions.
The work by the Academy of Science of SA committee on science for poverty alleviation is of special
significance for the new administration as it has earmarked rural development as one of its key priorities
for the next five years.
The poorest live in the country’s rural areas and former Bantustans which were largely neglected by the
former regime. Due to migration to the urban areas, the government has largely focused its minimal
resources on urban development, although often not in the best way.
The committee, which recently held a workshop, looked at macro- indicators with regards to the
distribution of poverty in the country and attempted to understand the effect that small town economic
development could have on providing sustainable livelihoods.
They say that the outcome of the workshop is not a strategy, but instead a methodology on how economic
development in small towns can be achieved.
It is meant to help guide the national strategy on the issue, and the committee was formed at the request of
the Department of Science and Technology.
On small town development, a document says that promoting such development faces a major dilemma
for a number of reasons, including that they are extremely diverse, with widely different types of
economic bases and with very different economic fortunes.
Consequently the scope for a second economy in towns varies greatly, and there is no “one size fits all”
solution for small towns.
“.... it is critical that government departments examine the impact of their expenditure on small towns,”
reads the document drawn up by Prof Doreen Atkinson from the Centre for Development Support at the
University of the Free State.
Government departments have so far recognised the priorities faced by small towns, but the strategy
33 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
“However, government spending needs to operate on a more strategic spatial basis, to create productive
investments in small and medium- sized towns. Such expenditure will help to create the local surpluses
which are required for second economy operators to connect with the formal economy,” the committee
says. “In addition, the right kind of business support services in small towns need to be provided, with a
particular emphasis on creating effective linkages between emergent entrepreneurs and formal businesses
“A much more strategic regional approach should be considered, based on regional similarities and
potential advantages. Public funding may be necessary to investigate such economic potential, and to
facilitate the creation of regional public and private networks to attract investment to small and medium-
The workshop also looked at effective land use management needed to increase access of the poor to land.
The government’s goal is to transfer 30% of farmland to black ownership by 2014. One of the concerns is
that much of the land so far transferred has not been put to good use because of a lack of training.
To add fuel to fire, many towns are battling to overcome the spatial legacy of apartheid, and often there is
a lack of municipal control over land for various reasons. These include traditional authorities owning
land, mining and manufacturing companies dominating in some municipalities, private development
approved at a provincial level and the power of provinces undermining spatial development at a local
“Many small towns are experiencing explosive growth that is not being managed appropriately in
planning or implementation. There is evidence of fragmented and unsustainable land-extensive
development that results in the poor being located far from town. In many cases the size of the
municipality relative to other institutions means they do not have effective control over their own land
2008 12 15 Putting a lid on land reform’s Pandora’s Box
Land, who owns it, who has access to it, who utilises it and to what purpose, is in South Africa’s social,
political and historical context, a potentially explosive issue, relating as it does to elemental aspects of
security, housing, food production and cultural and historical traditions.
Patently clear is the need to address the inequities of the past in relation to land distribution and thus a
land reform programme has been ongoing since the dawn of South Africa’s democracy. But agreement on
how this reform is to be achieved, and the way to go about it, has been elusive.
This is partly due to the emotional nature of the issue, but is also due to the inability of the state’s land
reform programme to reach it’s objectives, opening it wide for criticism by not only those who have a
vested interest in seeing it fail, but also by those who are supposed to benefit.
34 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
And after 13 years of examining issues related to land and agrarian issues, the Institute for Poverty, Land
and Agrarian Studies (Plaas), situated within the University of the Western Cape’s School of Governance,
is able to reveal, in depth, exactly what is wrong - and what is right - with the land reform programme.
It needs to be noted, however, that Plaas does not focus solely on agrarian issues, but is involved in the
broader examination of marginalised communities. It has for instance, conducted extensive research on
fishing rights and marine resources, chronic poverty and natural resources management.
But these focus areas would, to do them justice, need to be the subject of separate articles and it is land
and agrarian issues which are the focus here.
And when it comes to land rights and land reform, Plaas is one of the most authoritative academic
institutions in the country, if not the southern African region, on the matter.
As such is regularly called to engage with government on matters of policy on a variety of forums, but is
also - as all good academic institutions should be - able to hold an adversarial position, as it is currently
doing in the form of director Professor Ben Cousins acting as an expert witness for the Legal
Resources Centre in a Constitutional Court challenge to the Communal Land Rights Act being brought by
the communities of Kalkfontein, Makuleke, Mayaenyane and Dixie.
In fact Plaas, by maintaining rigorous standards of scholastic and research excellence, seems to
occasionally hold the unenviable position of being a relatively lone voice of reason amidst a clamour of
emotionally charged viewpoints, and a press which will often happily give voice to the most sensational
The state of land reform
But it is a misconception to think that Plaas has “a line” or embedded view on land reform and the myriad
issues surrounding it. Researchers debate and differ on various issues. However, in trawling through the
enormous amount of literature the institute produces as a result of their in-depth research, common
One of these is that land reform in South Africa has been badly managed and badly implemented.
The institute’s latest status report on land reform, titled Land Reform in South Africa: A Status Report
2008, compiled by Edward Lahiff, who has since left the institute, begins: “After 14 years of democracy
in South Africa, there is agreement across the political and social spectrum that the state’s programme of
land reform is in sever difficulties.”
It notes that the programme has failed to reach almost all of its objectives, such as historical redress,
redistribution of wealth and opportunities, and economic growth.
Lahiff notes that while it is not unusual for a policy to have weaknesses, and there has been much
“political hand-wringing” in this regard, it is not so much its “chronic under performance” which is of
“particular interest”, but that the government has persisted “for so long with an approach that enjoys so
little popular support and is clearly failing to deliver on its ostensible objectives”.
One of the most easily quantifiable failures is in the area of land redistribution.
35 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
The government’s stated target is the redistribution of 30 percent of formerly white-owned land by 2014.
Yet by March 2007, only about five percent of the identified estimate of 83 million hectares of white-
owned land had been transferred to historically disadvantaged owners.
With only seven years to go to the deadline, the state is lagging far behind in reaching its objective.
And as Lahiff’s report notes, this amount of around four million hectares is not qualified in terms of its
location or quality, “the socio-economic profile of beneficiaries” or the “quality of post-settlement
The failure of many high-profile restitution projects have left the land reform programme wide open to
criticism, especially by established commercial farmers and agri-businesses who see economically
productive land being handed to claimants only to be mismanaged and become unproductive.
Plaas acting director Andries duToit wrote in The Star of September 1, 2008 that “a national survey found
that just one of 128 land restitution projects was producing a sustainable profit”.
Lahiff writes that this failure, combined with a greater call by claimants for state assistance, has led to
increased emphasis on pairing claimants with commercial operators - often the previous land owners - to
create a strategic partnership to enable production on high-value agricultural land to be maintained.
This development, says Hall, has also quelled the fears of many landowners, especially in Limpopo and
Mpumulanga where about 70% of the land is under claim, that they would simply be removed from land
into which they may have invested large amounts of capital.
A number of initiatives have been introduced to address the challenge of post-settlement support, such as
the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme - although
Lahiff notes in aside that, “despite its name, (it) has effectively been limited to grants for farm
infrastructure” - the Micro-Agricultural Finance Initiative of South Africa (MAFISA) to provide micro-
credit and “the creation of post-settlement support units within the Commission on Restitution of Land
However, despite the existence of these initiatives, Lahiff says that “many, if not most”, projects still do
not receive the support they need to use the land productively.
The recent Settlement and Implementation Support (SIS) strategy has the potential to address this failure
Lahiff says the SIS, which was developed by the Sustainable Development Consortium (SDC) on behalf
of the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights (CRLR), is “potentially the most significant initiative in
The SDC describes it as a “joint programme of government, spearheaded by the Ministry of Agriculture
and Land Affairs in partnership with organised land reform beneficiaries, private sector role-players and
NGOs… to provide comprehensive support services to ensure sustainable land reform projects and the
fulfilment of broader constitutional obligations’.
36 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
With the proposed acceleration of land transfer in order to meet the 2014 targets, the issue of post-
settlement support is ever more urgent and it remains to be seen what positive intervention the SIS is
capable of achieving.
The issues raised in Plaas’s land report, of which the lack of post-settlement support is just a small part,
includes shortcomings in regard to farm dweller tenure reform, the lack of progress on communal tenure
reform and unresolved debates on the nature of the land reform programme.
This led du Toit to comment in The Star that “it is time to think more creatively and searchingly about the
future of our farmlands”.
Du Toit argues that agrarian reform goes beyond simply addressing the ‘land question’.
The “core problem”, he says, is the disjuncture between land reforms’ aim of equity and social
sustainability, and an agricultural policy which is at present geared toward the promotion of large-scale
This has resulted in the emergence of two radically different responses.
The most common approach, which he says informs the thinking behind the Land and Agrarian Reform
Project (Larp), is to resolve the tension between social equity and commercial farming by “providing
better resources to a smaller group of black farmers who actually have a chance at making it”.
However, he argues that this ignores millions of poor and marginalised people and amounts to “narrow
black empowerment” which uses billions of rands of public money to benefit a small, already relatively
Apart from not resolving the questions which led to a land reform programme in the first place, it “would
perpetuate the exclusion of the mass of poor rural people - and would sow the seeds of long term political
The alternative approach questions the viability of the current commercial agricultural model and
advocates the subdivision of large tracts of redistributed land - something the state has refused to
contemplate - particularly in the former homelands, and supporting more intensive small-scale
As du Toit succinctly puts it: “While proponents of the first approach argue for getting a group of viable
farmers on the commercial bus, the second view point raises critical questions about the design of the bus
This more radical approach is supported by the questions increasingly being asked of the “social and
environmental sustainability of mainstream agriculture”.
One of the findings of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology
for Development (IAASTD) Intergovernmental Plenary Session held in Johannesburg in April this year,
was that current mainstream commercial agriculture as it presently exists is becoming increasingly
37 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
The Executive Summary of the IAASTD’s Synthesis Report states: [g]iven the new challenges we
confront today, there is increasing recognition within formal S&T (Science and Technology)
organizations that the current AKST (Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology) model requires
revision. Business as usual is no longer an option.
To look at it another way, Hall refers to a paper written by her PLAAS colleague Dr. Michael Aliber,
which unpacks some of the numbers.
According to his research, South Africa has a declining number of about 45,000 commercial farming
units increasingly held by corporate entities rather than individuals. In their employ are a decreasing
number of farm workers, about 700,000 at present. But there are about three million people living on
Then there is in the region of 4,5 million “so-called subsistence farmers or part-time farmers” living in the
Simply put, aligning land reform with an agricultural policy that prioritises mainstream commercial
agriculture leaves these millions of people out of the picture, clearly a socially, and politically,
Add food security to the equation and there clearly are no easy answers, but a start would be a critical
examination by government of the problems contained within the current land reform policy, and
rethinking agrarian economy over the long term.
What a restructured agrarian economy would look like “is a finding in itself”, says Hall, but she notes that
there has been some progressive statements in this regard, with the Minister of Agriculture Lulama
Xingwana increasingly talking about agrarian reform and an ‘agrarian revolution’.
And Lahiff notes that “strong political support for a new approach to land reform emerged from the
ANC’s National Conference in Polokwane in December 2007, which passed a comprehensive and far-
reaching resolution on rural development, land reform and agrarian change”.
Hall calls the Polokwane resolution “the most interesting thing to happen recently from a policy
She says for the first time the ruling party started to look beyond the simple redistribution of land as a
solution in itself, “and beyond even giving land and agricultural support as a solution”.
However, she also says Luthuli house has been frozen since the Polokwane conference, probably due to
the separation of powers between the party and the Presidency that resulted from Zuma’s election as
president of the ANC.
We may have to wait until after the 2009 elections for any real policy shifts to come into effect.
In the meantime, what is needed is a long-term view of different policy trajectories.
“You need to look at in the long term what is going to be happening if current trends continue: the
number of farm workers will continue to decline, the number of people who are farming part time is
growing rapidly and the number of people farming full time in the communal areas has declined.
38 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
“What will this look like in 20 years if we were not to intervene at all, or if we were to have a programme
that invests x amount in trying to promote smallholder agriculture?
It is vital that government actively engages in the critical examination of its policies, because, as du Toit
writes, what is at stake is not just South Africa’s land reform programme, “but also our long term ability
to ensure food security, political stability and environmental sustainability”.
But when the dust has cleared after the 2009 elections and the government has stopped gazing at its navel,
we can be sure that Plaas will be there to present relevant, succinct and coherent arguments to policy
makers at the highest level.
We can only hope they will listen.
2009 01 23 Who owns what land in South Africa?
Despite a state land audit last year, it is still unclear who owns what land in South Africa. Officially South
Africa’s land reform programme seems to be progressing at a snail’s pace with about 18% of all land in
This excludes state-owned land and includes land in the former homelands.
But the official figure of 18% does not account for any private land sales after 1994, the Department of
Land Affairs told the Mail & Guardian.
In December a media report in popular Afrikaans agriculture magazine Landbouweekblad speculated that
black land ownership might be far higher than official figures suggest. The report cited a joint project
conducted by the Demographic Information Group and Population of South Africa (Popsa) which that in
2001 blacks owned 20% of the land, whites 44% and coloureds 9%, and that muncipalities owned just
over a quarter of South Africa’s land.
Popsa researcher Cobus Jordaan said the project -- funded by the Development Bank -- analysed
properties by examining South Africa’s different magasterial districts. The researchers took as a given
that property in the former homelands were already in black hands.
Jordaan said the figures were presented to the Department of Land Affairs in 2001 with an offer of
follow-up research, but that department had expressed no interest.
AgriSA and the Transvaal Agriculture Union, however, have asked Jordaan to pursue the research . Both
unions had previously expressed reservations about the government’s official land figures, saying they
believe more land may have been transferred into black hands than these figures suggest.
Eddie Mohoebi, spokesperson for the Department of Land Affairs, questions the statistics arising from
Jordaan’s research. He said that because the Constitution does not allow for breakdown of land along
racial lines, information or records along racial lines are not available in the Deeds Registry Database,
39 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
where no race indicators are linked to the identities of citizens. “Furthermore, ownership of company-
owned land is also changing constantly as and when shares are sold,” he said.
He acknowledged that 13% of the country’s surface area was owned by blacks in 1994, and added that a
further 4,9-million hectares or 4,69% had been added to the 1994 figure.
The national and provincial government owns about 24,5-million hectares, but the extent of municipal
ownership is not clear. The department cannot confirm the 25% ownership claimed by Popsa, because
audits on municipal land are still to be conducted. However, the department’s database shows that 1,2-
millon properties are owned by the various municipalities.
Mohoebi says that last year’s audit of state land is now being used to identify state-owned land for use in
the government’s land reform programme. But the department says only 5% to 7% -- or two million
hectares -- of state-owned land are potentially available for agricultural redistribution or disposal.
Mohoebi says at the moment the department tracks black land ownership only where the government has
handed land over to black communities.
“However, we are requesting the banks who provide financing for land acquisition to share information in
this regard,” he said. “To date they have not given us the information.”
2009 01 28 'ANC may trim development programmes'
The African National Congress (ANC) may have to scale down some of its development programmes due
to the world financial crisis, South African Communist Party deputy general-secretary Jeremy Cronin
warned on Wednesday.
"We need to shepherd public resources with discipline and care," said Cronin, also a National Executive
Committee member of the ANC.
During the Joe Slovo memorial lecture at the Hani Institute Cronin said the ANC has to be "sustainable
and intelligent" about what it is doing.
However, he said, there should be no compromise on the strategic direction which includes land and
agrarian reform, health and creating jobs.
He said the country squandered the recent boom years. It did not take advantage of high commodity
He said narrow black economic empowerment interests would be negatively impacted and this would
affect company profits.
"We did not use the boom period to drive transformation in our productive economy. And we haven't
managed our economy well at all," he said.
40 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
"Questions need to be asked now about what has gone wrong and what lessons can be learnt. There will
not be any significant short-term recovery," he said of the knock-on effects of the global crisis. – Sapa
2009 02 03 Land claims could cost SA R50bn
Briefing journalists in Gordon's Bay near Cape Town following a meeting of regional land
commissioners, he said the state had to date approved restitution awards of R17.6bn.
However the value of outstanding claims was "quite huge".
"Out of 79 696 claims lodged with the commission, we now have about 4 589 claims that are still
"Initial projections were these would cost R17bn to settle, but indications now are they might be more...
the remaining claims are quite huge."
The cost of claims in the Kruger National Park, involving 400 000 hectares, would cost at least R15bn to
settle, he said.
Responding to a question, Mphela admitted restitution and land claims would cost "at least R52bn by the
time the process is finished".
This could be as late as 2014 in provinces such as the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.
Mphela said both Cabinet and Treasury were aware of the additional billions that would be needed to
finalise his commission's work over the next few years.
2009 01 30 Mohlahlane lands R1,1m default judgement
The Land Bank's former acting chief executive, Phil Mohlahlane, was fired from the Department of
Agriculture last week.
But in the same week the ex-agricultural official won a R1,1-million default judgement in the
Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) against the Land Bank after officials
from the bank failed to appear before the commissioner.
The Mail & Guardian also understands that Mohlahlane will dispute his dismissal from the Department of
Agriculture in the labour court.
41 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Mohlahlane was a deputy director general in the department, where he headed the black farmers' support
section. But he was suspended from his post in September 2008 because of an investigation into alleged
irregularities in the AgriBEE fund he managed.
It is understood that this investigation was one of the reasons for his dismissal.
Mohlahlane was transferred to head the embattled bank in late 2007 after the resignation of chief
executive Alan Mukoki. He remained in the position until April 2008, when he returned to his post at the
Department of Agriculture.
Land Bank spokesperson Musa Mchunu said the bank had been informed that Mohlahlane had lodged a
dispute at the CCMA, but did not attend the hearing because details of the hearing were sent to the wrong
contacts at the bank.
He said the bank only became aware of the default award when a Land Bank employee at the CCMA
offices -- who was there for another matter -- was informed of it by a CCMA commissioner.
"The Land Bank has since discovered that the fax number the CCMA used was one not used for corporate
correspondence purposes on a daily basis," he said. "The CCMA has further informed the bank that it
tried to contact the Land Bank on the day of the hearing but couldn't get through."
Another Land Bank employer told the M&G that exactly the same situation arose when he went to the
CCMA last year. He also won his case by default after the Land Bank representative failed to turn up.
However, the Land Bank insisted that they had ensured the CCMA had the correct contact details after
that previous experience.
"We don't know why the CCMA sent the correspondence to the wrong address again," Land Bank boss
Phakamani Hadebe said.
He said the bank did not believe the ruling was fair and that it wanted an opportunity to present its case.
"We will fight this," he said.
2009 02 12 Land, agriculture get budget boost
Land and agriculture got a lovely bonus from Trevor Manuel in his budget speech on Wednesday,
suggesting that the government was trying to implement the African National Congress promise at its
Polokwane conference to beef up the rural economy. But rural economy analysts were hesitant to
immediately pop the champagne corks.
Land reform received an additional R1,8-billion for rural development and agrarian reform, and the total
budget for the next three years for reform and restitution rose to R20,3-billion. But year-on-year, the
budget for the Department of Land Affairs declined between 2008/09 and 2009/10 by 8%, driven by a
precipitous decline in the capital budget allocated for the land-restitution programme.
42 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Michael Aliber and Karin Kleinbooi, researchers from Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies
(PLAAS) at the University of the Western Cape, explained the reason for the downward turn as obscure.
"On the one hand, in mid-2008 the Restitution Commission indicated that it would need to spend R18-
billion in order to meet the deadline of 2011, which would be consistent with an increase in annual
expenditure up to that date," Kleinbooi said.
"On the other hand, the just-released estimates of national expenditure imply that the restitution
programme has already begun its winding down phase, which explains the general downward trend in its
The two said the other significant feature of the land-reform budget is a sharp reversal of previous trends
whereby the capital budget tended to grow far more rapidly than the current budget.
"In comparison to last year's budget, current expenditure -- which can be interpreted broadly as the state's
capacity to effect land-reform transfers -- grew in both absolute terms and relative to the corresponding
capital budget," Aliber said. "For restitution, the current budget increased by 104% relative to the capital
budget decline of 49%; while for the 'land reform' budget line [largely comprising land redistribution, but
in principle also tenure reform], the figures are 53% and 16%, respectively."
Kleinbooi said the boost was not enough. She says the budget estimates that over the medium term an
additional 2,2-million hectares will be transferred via the redistribution programme at a total cost of about
"While no comparable figures are provided for restitution in terms of hectares, assuming similar land
costs, then the MTEF allocation would allow for the restoration of less than one million hectares, making
a total of about 3-million hectares," she said.
Given the approximately 5,2-million hectares transferred to date, this means that more than 17-million
hectares would need to be delivered over the three years remaining between the end of this medium term
framework period and 2014, the target date for transferring a total of 30% of all commercial farmland.
"This is obviously a nonsensical target under the present circumstances," she said.
Talking about the R1,8-million injection into rural development and small farmer support, Kleinbooi said
the significance of this was underlined when Manuel deviated from the script to ensure that this fact was
acknowledged by Gwede Mantashe, "Presumably to signal that the allocation is a financial commitment
in support of the rural development thrust of the ANC's election manifesto," she said.
In his speech, Manuel emphasised how important it was to empower small-scale farmers.
"Key to transforming rural livelihoods is to better enable small-scale farmers to use land more
productively," Manuel told Parliament.
"Improved support to farmers is important, but access to long-term finance is a critical ingredient too.
Following good progress in repairing its integrity and in giving effect to its core mandate to support
43 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
agricultural investment, government will also consider proposals by the board of the Land Bank to
strengthen its balance sheet."
In a telling deviation from the script, the minister noted that the Land Bank's offerings did not appear to
be suitable to land-reform beneficiaries, and then said that "land is an asset, and it's an asset that needs to
be worked by the poor."
Kleinbooi and Aliber said the meaning was ambiguous, but seemed to suggest that land reform needed to
show more tangible results in terms of poverty reduction and food production than it can demonstrate to
"Many would agree, but it can hardly be said that there is any consensus as to a good plan for the way
forward. To borrow on a theme developed elsewhere in his speech, where rural development is
concerned, we are certainly not 'already shovelling', nor probably are we 'shovel-ready'; in reality there is
some uncertainty as to which is the business end of the shovel," Aliber said.
Manuel also specifically targeted food production in the agricultural boost, giving fruit and vegetable
farms in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape an additional R650-million over the medium term. The funds
will be used to build infrastructure on prime pieces of land in the two provinces.
2009 03 01 Govt gives up on land deadline
Johannesburg - The target of 30% agricultural land in black hands will not be revised up or downwards,
but there is no way that it will be reached by the deadline of 2014, says the director-general of land
In an interview with Farming SA, sister magazine of Landbouweekblad, Thozi Gwanya admits that the
department's annual current budget allocation of R6bn makes it impossible to meet this target on the
"We would need about R74bn if we want to meet the deadline in 2014 - money which is not readily
available. I think we may have to plan towards 2025 to give the Treasury enough space to breath.
"The constitution obliges us to pay compensation for any land we take from white farmers; therefore this
was always going to be an expensive exercise.
"Even expropriation is not cheap!"
Gwanya says government has distributed about 5.2m hectares since 1994. About 2.2m hectares was for
restitution and over 3m went for redistribution.
"We needed to deliver at least 1.2m hectares per annum between 1994 and 2014 to make the ultimate
target possible, but now we have delivered an average of 660 000 hectares per year since 1994."
Asked about his view on how commercial farmers embrace land reform, he says it is a mixed response.
"Some have come to the party and due to their cooperation and support we have good sustainable projects
in the country. We would encourage more of these partnerships.
44 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
"On the flipside you get those farmers who are still very negative about land reform and even go as far as
saying 'why do you burden black people with farming, this is a dying industry - all the whites are leaving.'
These expressions seem to suggest we must keep the status quo, since farming is a 'novelty' to black
"The truth is before 1960 black South Africans used to produce their own food and had no problem with
farming. The subsequent laws and continued injustices in South Africa de-skilled our people. I think if we
all work hard and support each other in one way or the other there is hope and good returns in
On speculation that South Africa is perhaps already closer to the 30% target than the government thinks,
Gwanya says people who suggest this must "please show me where these hectares are".
"And let's not count land where RDP houses are built - here you would talk about 1 hectare for about
hundred houses. Even today 90% of the people on the loan book of the Land Bank are white people."
In an apparent swipe at the banking sector Gwanya says he has challenged the big four (Absa, FNB,
Standard and Nedbank), to open their books and show him how many loans have they approved for black
"We can give them our figures and if they can bring theirs it would be added to the 2.5m hectares which
we have already transferred to black South Africans. We cannot talk about theory or unverified hectares.
"When we asked to get the transfers broken down by race classification from the deeds office, they
stopped us and said we must not 'classify' people again like in the olden days."
2009 03 02 Land transfers halted
Johannesburg - Land claims in Mpumalanga have been temporarily suspended after the province's
Department of Agriculture ran out of money.
According to a letter in Sake24's possession, from Leona Archary, head of Mpumalanga's land reform
office, all conveyancers handling the transfer of property following successful land claims have been
instructed to put the process on hold. The letter explains that the large number of land claims during the
fiscal year have exhausted the department's budget.
These transactions will be resumed in April, at the beginning of the department's financial year.
This could severely impact farmers in this province, says FF+ spokesperson Willie Spies.
45 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
It's a sort of moratorium on property transfers, he explains, himself being a conveyancer. It comes in the
wake of farmers having agreed with the state on fair prices for their properties, and properties now
needing to be handed over to the new owners.
"This may be a delay of only two months, but for many this is a long time," Spies points out.
As soon as the land-transfer process starts, farmers may not do any planting on their property. At the same
time they will not have received payment for their land. "This is disheartening."
"Farmers are regularly blamed for dragging out land reform. In this case everything was ready, and it's
quite clear the state caused the delay."
Godfrey Mdhluli, spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture & Land Affairs said he was aware of
the matter, but declined to elaborate.
2009 03 02 Billions worth of land given to people in Mpumalanga
Land valued at billions of rands has been given to rural communities in Mpumalanga in the last five
years, with over 20 000 beneficiaries, the provincial agriculture and land department said on Monday.
"This is 278 137ha of land valued at R2 850 608,933 transferred to 27 865 beneficiaries," it said in a joint
statement with the Regional Land Claims Commission-Mpumalanga (RLCC-MP), and the Mpumalanga
Provincial Land Reform Office (MPLRO).
This follows recent "negative" media reports with particular reference made to the Mpumalanga province.
"[We] have come together under one umbrella to bring citizens of Mpumalanga up to speed about the
status quo on government's land reform programmes," the statement read.
Meanwhile, the MPLRO said it had transferred 345 000ha of land though various programmes since
"The key mandate of the MPLRO remains the redistribution of 30% of white owned agricultural land to
previously disadvantaged individuals by 2014 as well as the provision of tenure security."
With regards to issues of land rights, the department said Mpumalanga was one of two provinces that had
to deal not only with farm-occupier issues, but also 8 885 labour-tenant claims.
The province had identified the importance of building strategic partnerships with the private sector in
order to increase the sustainability of land reform projects.
"To date support has been obtained from many of the commodity sectors and to this end a number of
agreements with different agricultural partners have been facilitated."
46 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
The department said one of the significant post-settlement challenges confronting the province was to
ensure that communities maintain productivity of highly productive agricultural land transferred to them.
"To acquire the necessary skills and experience while maintaining production on the farm the beneficiary
communities forge strategic partnership with an experienced land owner or company," it said.
"Through human support to all farms bought by government for restitution and land reform, the
department has provided training. Some of the training has been done with Department of Labour."
The department also ensured that beneficiaries had access to services such as boreholes for water and
"These interventions have assisted local farmers to get into the export industry," it said, adding that it also
established a land rights management facility to provide legal assistance to people facing eviction. – Sapa
2009 03 02 Bungled land reform costs votes
IT HAS taken a good 15 years, but it seems the African National Congress (ANC) government has finally
woken up to the fact that its lacklustre efforts at implementing land reforms to reverse the effect of
restrictions on black ownership under apartheid could cost it votes. Never before has the land issue
loomed as large in ANC policy documents, statements and speeches as since the Polokwane conference.
This partly reflects the new leadership’s tendency to populist posturing. But it goes deeper. Unlike his
predecessor, ANC president Jacob Zuma appears to have a genuine affinity for the plight of millions of
South Africans trapped without prospects in rural slums, which explains his popularity in these areas. He
also knows they are in no mood to be fed more empty promises.
This explains the government’s decision, not announced yet but talked of as a fait accompli, to split the
land and agriculture ministry. Agriculture will be merged with forestry, and one hopes run with more
emphasis on the science and economics of farming. Land affairs will devote itself to the efficient and
effective administration of land reform — something SA has yet to experience. Administrative bungling
goes to the heart of the failure to reform land ownership, and underlies much of the frustration that risks
alienating rural voters.
An incident in the Waterberg north of Johannesburg last weekend illustrates the point.
The Waterberg is covered with land claims, many being contested in court.
The agonisingly slow and inept process of finalising these claims, which were lodged over a decade ago,
has had a catastrophic effect on the area. Joint venture investment plans with claimants are being shelved,
and transferred properties are falling apart. Last year a lodge burned down after claimants trying to run a
defunct residential tourism site without expertise or capital decided to occupy it, but failed to maintain
Today they wait in vain for new investors to appear.
47 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
A week later an endangered rhino in the care of conservationist Clive Walker, founder of the Endangered
Wildlife Trust, was shot by poachers, the horns stolen, and the carcass left to rot.
Without endless bureaucratic bungling, none of these incidents would have happened. Walker’s
neighbours, the Lapalala Wilderness, had come up with a brilliant solution years before.
Rapula, which owns Lapalala, offered to invest income from the sale of 13000ha of its land under claim
in a 50/50 partnership with the claimants. The joint venture would sell a limited number of luxury lodges
at a premium to investors. Part of the proceeds would be used to build two lodges, owned separately by
Rapula and the claimants. The rest would be invested in a fund to maintain the entire wilderness area in
The partnership, which promised to create 330 jobs, was envisaged to run for 10 years. Continuing
management and financial skills training would ensure a smooth transition to full owner management by
the claimants of their valuable asset.
After negotiations that lasted years and included endless valuation errors, Rapula, the claimants and the
Limpopo Land Claims Commission sat down three weeks ago to resolve two outstanding issues:
calculation errors on the deed of sale, and new elections for claimant leaders, which had to be supervised
by commission officials to be binding. Last I heard the miscalculation has yet to be fixed. Rapula lives in
hope it won’t take much longer.
But the elections have not been held. Community leaders went to great expense to hire buses to transport
voters to the polling station last Saturday, but the officials did not arrive. Seething community members
who had waited in the sun all day were heard to mutter it was time to vote for the Congress of the People
because the ANC had appointed these officials.
As Johan Rupert said in his speech to Pretoria University last October, referring to his own experiences
with incompetent land officials processing a claim on his farm in Mpumalanga: “This has to be sheer and
•Stephan Hofstatter is contributing editor.
2009 03 03 SA Land reform programme failing, state researchers
South Africa’s land reform programme has failed to reach almost all of its objectives, such as historical
redress, redistribution of wealth and opportunities, and economic growth.
This is according the most recent status report compiled by the University of the Western Cape’s Institute
for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (Plaas).
48 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
The report, titled Land Reform in South Africa: A Status Report 2008, states: “After 14 years of
democracy in South Africa, there is agreement across the political and social spectrum that the state’s
programme of land reform is in severe difficulties.”
While the report notes that the land reform programme is failing on a number of fronts, the failure of
many high-profile restitution projects have left it particularly vulnerable to criticism, especially by
established commercial farmers and agri-businesses who see economically productive land being handed
to claimants only to be mismanaged and become unproductive.
Plaas acting director Andries du Toit wrote in The Star of September 1, 2008 that “a national survey
found that just one of 128 land restitution projects was producing a sustainable profit”.
The status report notes that this failure, combined with a greater call by claimants for state assistance, has
led to increased emphasis on pairing claimants with commercial operators - often the previous land
owners - to create a strategic partnership to enable production on high-value agricultural land to be
This development, said Plaas senior researcher Ruth Hall, has managed to quell the fears of many
landowners, especially in Limpopo and Mpumulanga where about 70% of the land is under claim, that
they would simply be removed from land into which they may have invested large amounts of money.
A number of initiatives have been introduced to address the challenge of post-settlement support, such as
the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme; the Micro-Agricultural Finance Initiative of South
Africa (MAFISA), which provides micro-credit; and post-settlement support units within the Commission
on Restitution of Land Rights.
However, despite the existence of these initiatives, the report notes that “many, if not most”, projects still
do not receive the support they need to use the land productively.
However, the recent Settlement and Implementation Support (SIS) strategy has the potential to address
The report says the SIS, which was developed by the Sustainable Development Consortium (SDC) on
behalf of the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights (CRLR), is “potentially the most significant
initiative in this area”.
The SDC describes it as a “joint programme of government, spearheaded by the Ministry of Agriculture
and Land Affairs in partnership with organised land reform beneficiaries, private sector role-players and
NGOs… to provide comprehensive support services to ensure sustainable land reform projects and the
fulfilment of broader constitutional obligations’.
The Western Cape Provincial Land Reform Office stated that they were not aware of Plaas’s status report
and could therefore not comment on it.
However, communications officer Sandile Nene said although they, as the provincial land reform office,
were not mandated to offer post-settlement support in any of their redistribution programme projects, they
“do not hesitate” to intervene where necessary through their various regional and district offices, and “in
all cases where intervened, we were successful”.
49 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Nene said Land Affairs worked closely with the Department of Agriculture in implementing the
Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP).
“We have assisted and continue to assist beneficiaries in various ways such as restructuring and
mentoring them throughout the process with critical mentoring a skills transfer being the main objective,”
stated Nene in an official response. - West Cape News
SIDEBAR: Redistribution failure in the Western Cape
Only one farm in the Western Cape has been restored to its original inhabitants.
Although 15 511 of the 17 000 land claims lodged in the Western Cape have been settled, benefiting 114
129 people and 22 323 households, only 3 127 ha of actual land has been redistributed.
This is the size of the Elandskloof farm in the fertile citrus growing area of the Cedarberg, near Citrusdal
about 200 km north of Cape Town.
The high number of claims settled versus the small amount of land which has been given back to
previously disadvantaged communities is partly due to the fact that 80% of land claims in the province are
in urban areas, and many of the communities opt for financial compensation over the more drawn out
process of obtaining land.
This is revealed by Department of Land Affairs figures which show financial compensation since 1995
amounts to over R772 million, while the cost of land transfer is just over R22,5 million.
While the urban restitution process can claim some success, the farming of redistributed land is virtually
Elandskloof was the first farm to be redistributed in South Africa, transferred in 1996 into the ownership
of the 70 families who were the original inhabitants, but displaced under apartheid legislation almost 40
But Regional Land Claims communication officer Frans Zottle said if you went to visit the farm now, 12
years later, there is nothing happening.
Zottl attempted to defend the commercial failure of the farm, saying it needed to be realised that it took
generations of development to bring land to a point where it was commercially successful.
“It’s just crazy to think people will be rich after 10 years,” he said.
While that holds true for undeveloped land, Elandskloof is fertile, potentially productive land in an
established citrus growing area with perennial rivers for irrigation.
Zottl admitted this was indicative of the state’s failure when it came to post settlement support.
“A lot of land has been given back, but then it’s a question of, what now?”
50 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Agri-SA parliamentary coordinator Annelize Crosby said the Elandskloof initiative had been a “total
disaster, a complete failure”.
So much so that the Cape High Court has ordered the Restitution Commission to take control of the land,
and government is now trying to rectify the situation by taking charge of the management of the area.
Crosby said she was aware of just one other land restitution claim, in Lutzville, near Vredendal.
This has not yet been finalized despite having been in the pipeline since 1996.
Thus far only six farms have been handed over in the area and the state has offered R100 million towards
settling the claim.
She said the ongoing debate around the claim was hopefully being steered towards a land acquisition and
development plan that considered all players, and she is cautiously optimistic on its future success.
But she said the rate at which experienced farmers are leaving the country and taking their skills with
them leaves the beneficiaries of land claims struggling to cope. - West Cape News
2009 03 04 Govt to take over unused farms
Pretoria - South Africa's government will take over farms that were allocated to black people under a land
redistribution programme but are not being productively used, Agriculture Minister Lulu Xingwana said
"I have ... instructed my directors general to, with immediate effect, implement the principle of use it or
lose it," Xingwana told a media briefing.
"Therefore, those who do not use the land must immediately be removed and the land must be given to
emerging farmers and cooperatives...," she said.
After the first democratic elections in 1994, the ANC-led government set itself a target of handing 30% of
all agricultural land to the black majority by 2014.
Under a restitution programme, land was returned to black communities who claimed it was taken from
them before the end of apartheid, but much of the land has not been used for farming and has laid idle for
"The restitution programme has reached 95% completion. The 5% that is outstanding involves claims (on
properties owned by) the mines, huge forestry projects and also claims that involve conservation areas,"
51 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
2009 03 05 Minister warns land reform beneficiaries
LAND and Agriculture Minister Lulu Xingwana warned yesterday that her top officials would enforce a
“use it or lose it” policy to ensure land-reform beneficiaries ran productive farms.
She also said the government had run out of money for land reform in its current budget, and blamed
white farmers for charging the state inflated prices for land-reform farms.
Xingwana said the government would take back farms allocated to blacks under its redistribution
programme if they did not farm productively.
“I have visited farms where not one crop was planted in one to three years,” she told a briefing in
“I have instructed my directors-general to, with immediate effect, (enforce) the principle of use it or lose
it,” she said. “Therefore, those who do not use the land must immediately be removed, and the land must
be given to emerging farmers and co-operatives.”
The policy has been in place for some time, although some provinces, notably Limpopo, have
implemented it more vigorously than others.
The minister’s strong statements yesterday suggest she aims to counter criticism in weekend newspapers
that her disastrous handling of the land and agriculture portfolio threatens food security in SA.
Xingwana also blamed budget constraints and inflated land prices for delays in land reform.
“Our budget for this year is depleted because farmers escalate prices when they know government must
buy,” she said.
In a thinly veiled attack on market value as a key determinant of land prices, Xingwana said it was unfair
to expect the government to pay “the price of a lifestyle estate” for farmland.
“This is inflating the price of land,” she said.
Last year, Parliament shelved a law that would have made it easier for the government to expropriate at
below market value, arguing that it might prove to be unconstitutional.
Xingwana would not respond when asked if she planned to use the threat of expropriation to force land
owners to accept lower prices.
The department’s R6,6bn land-reform budget for 2008-09 ran out at the beginning of last month. The next
allocation, of R6,83bn, was due only next month, her officials said.
The money funded a variety of restitution, redistribution and tenure reform projects and farms, many of
which are struggling to stay productive. The budget crunch had delayed the finalisation of several major
restitution projects worth R600m to R800m each, which should have been wrapped up in 2008-09, the
officials said. Most were in KwaZulu-Natal.
52 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
The government was therefore devising “creative ways” of bringing down costs, said acting chief land
claims commissioner Blessing Mphela.
These included persuading owners to retain a portion of their property.
“Claimants must also realise we are all feeling the pinch, and they have to accept less,” he said.
A land-reform consultant to a major company, who did not want to be named, warned that late
disbursements entailed more red tape, which would result in further lengthy delays.
“We have had several big projects approved, but land affairs is broke,” he said. “It’s very frustrating.”
Xingwana also said that several senior officials had been suspended for financial mismanagement after
recent internal investigations. “There are serious questions of gross negligence. Action will be taken
against those found guilty.”
Xingwana dismissed the suggestion that senior officials were suspended as part of a witch-hunt against
anyone opposed to her forceful leadership style.
“I am not aware of anyone who has problems with my leadership style so I don’t know who I would
conduct a witch-hunt against. My officials agree with the way I’m doing things,” she said.
Those suspended include Gauteng land affairs chief director Rachel Masango, who declined to discuss
her suspension. With the election looming, Xingwana’s fate hangs in the balance, too. Government
sources told Business Day she might be moved quietly from her portfolio after the elections under the
pretext of an administrative split in her ministry.
The sources said the agriculture component was expected to be merged with forestry to form a new
department, with land affairs standing alone. This would reflecting thinking in the African National
Congress that land was a political flash point that required more focused attention.
But a senior land affairs official said Xingwana might yet survive, and pointed out that ANC president
Jacob Zuma invited her on the campaign trail recently.
2009 03 06 Forced farming
AGRICULTURE and Land Affairs Minister Lulu Xingwana’s threat to repossess land granted to land
reform beneficiaries unless they pull up their socks and start farming it is so outrageous it might simply
be dismissed as posturing. Were it not, that is, so indicative of the state of chaos in land reform.
It is understandable that Xingwana and her officials are frustrated by failed land reform projects, and that
they are unwilling to invest in farm enterprises that never seem to get off the ground. It is appropriate, too,
that conditions are attached to the title to land handed over under the government’s redistribution
programme in which farming and enterprise development are the specified intentions.
53 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
But it is a very different matter where the minister’s threat refers to restitution beneficiaries. These are
people who have regained land rights through a land claim. The point of restitution is the constitutionally
defined redress of past land injustices.
There is nothing in the constitution or in the Restitution of Land Rights Act that compels land claim
beneficiaries to farm or carry on any enterprise.
To threaten people with dispossession because their farming efforts have failed, or because they prefer not
to farm, would be a wholly new injustice.
It is precisely the sort of excuse the apartheid state used when it removed whole communities from their
land for the benefit of white farmers. Xingwana’s threat is all the more insulting for its disregard of that
tragedy and the long struggle to restore the land to its rightful owners.
There is a point to be made that land should be productive, but not everyone entitled to restitution wants
to farm. In many cases, people would prefer a cash settlement and the opportunity to migrate to urban
That option is not popular at land affairs. One reason, some officials say, is that as soon as the cash runs
out, beneficiaries are likely to make new demands for land. Maybe, though it is more likely because of the
ANC’s blind pursuit of subsistence and small-scale co-operative farming as a solution to rural poverty.
A desperation to prove the feasibility of its strategy has led land affairs to establish weak strategic
partnerships — skills mentorship deals between professional farmers and new land owners — the
dissolution of which precipitated the minister’s threat this week. Absa is, for instance, foreclosing on one
of these partners after it failed to deliver cash and other promised benefits to new farmers.
But even if the government manages to channel enough money, skills and opportunities to get a
sustainable level of farming going, ineptness at the department may yet undo the restitution programme.
The minister has no place issuing threats while individual rights in community property bodies are still
not properly established, or while statistics emanating from the Land Claims Commission are unreliable
and contradictory. Until that changes, SA’s land injustice will continue.
2009 03 08 Land reform a scapegoat for whingeing farmers’ other woes
Your article “Farms collapse as land reform fails” (March 1), would make interesting, or perhaps even
worrisome, reading, had some of its contents not been so insulting to the intellect.
The haymaker is the sentence: “The country now imports more food than it exports, and local production
of grain, fruit and vegetables can no longer keep pace with the growing population.”
54 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Land reform is then put forward as the main factor that has “threatened” food security and turned South
Africa into a net importer of food.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The many shortcomings that have bedevilled the implementation of land reform in both its redistribution
and restitution sub-programmes, should be acknowledged honestly.
However, one takes exception to the insinuation that SA’s agricultural sector is collapsing because of
what is happening on 4% of the land.
How could this be possible?
I also find the claim in the article, that “uncertainty about SA’s land reform process has scores of
commercial farmers stopping all investments in their properties”, mind boggling.
Only the most stupid or obstinate farmer would be “uncertain” about whether a valid claim exists on his
or her property, particularly as the process is very clear.
Moreover, all stakeholders have to be taken through an elaborate process of consultation, sometimes
excessively so, thanks to the delaying tactics employed by the same whingeing farmers.
Additionally, all stakeholders have a wide array of options, which include recourse in courts of law.
So, what then are the real reasons for the increasingly poor performance of SA’s agricultural sector in
food production and the fact that it’s lagging behind population growth?
Up to 85% of the contribution of the agricultural sector to GDP is accounted for by only 15% of the
country’s commercial farms;
Much of the sector has remained under-capitalised since the last century, and it continues to cling to
outdated production methods characterised by an over-reliance on cheap labour, which undermines its
productivity and competitiveness;
About 15% of the agricultural land in South Africa is not utilised, held either for speculative purposes or
more commonly because of lack of the means to work it;
Another 30% of the land is under-utilised, because of low capital investment levels among the owners;
About 25% of SA’s commercial farmers have debt burdens above the critical level and many have been in
this position since the late ’90s;
55 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
High prices of diesel and other inputs, as well as high interest rates, have also played havoc with the
balance sheets of most farmers;
About 4% of the land — roughly the same as the amount delivered to land reform beneficiaries — has
been turned into game farms, thus sacrificing the production of food in exchange for the dollars and euros
brought in by recreational hunters; and
Another 5% of the total number of farms in South Africa are currently on the books of estate agents, put
there by those who have decided to cut their losses and call it a day, while a significant number face
While no excuses should be made for its ongoing failures, in this particular instance land reform is
therefore simply being used as a convenient excuse to conceal the real reasons behind the bad
performance of SA’s commercial agricultural sector in recent years. — Gilingwe Mayende, a former
director-general in the Department of Land Affairs
2009 03 12 Land ‘experts’ lacking
I have noted with sincere concern the exponentially mounting criticism of Land Affairs Minister Lulu
Xingwana and her department by different self-proclaimed agricultural analysts in the media. While I
fully appreciate and uphold the freedom of speech that they are entitled to exercise, what is disappointing
is the manner in which “analysts” and “commentators” have failed to attend many formal and informal
departmental stakeholder clarity-seeking sessions, or exchange-of-ideas sessions, ie land summits and
lectures which Xingwana and her department called to afford everyone an avenue via which they can
raise issues openly.
Had these “agriculture fundis” attended, they would have gained a lot more knowledge about the land
reform programmes and processes; their media outputs and knowledge consumption about the land
reform process would have improved.
Instead of accusing Xingwana of a “strange” leadership style, and more recently, the “use it or lose it”
approach, “analysts” ought to have known that, the “use it or lose it”, the state’s right of first refusal, and
sub-leasing of agricultural land, are the general conditions that apply to all land reform grants.
Again, if “analysts” had taken time from their busy schedules to attend, they would have known that
democracy not only comes with rights but responsibilities, hence among these adopted general conditions,
seek to encourage all South Africans to be responsible with assets (received through the aid of the state
Land is a liberation tool but some people have been using it to add to their poverty, hence the “use it or
lose it” condition will motivate people to use these assets responsibly.
56 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Until then, it is becoming increasingly unbearable to listen to arguments brought forward by “analysts”
who consistently dismiss the department’s mandate in exchange for an ill-informed narrow interpretive
view of the departmental mandate. The interpretive view and premises they offer are accompanied by
ignorance of this mandate.
Sandile Nene - Communication services department of Land Affairs
2009 03 12 Grondhervorming voor uitdagings
Die Wes-Kaap stel ’n voorbeeld vir die ander provinsies as dit by grondhervorming kom. Altesame
93 000 mense is die afgelope vyf jaar hierdeur geraak en bemagtig.
Só sê mnr. Cobus Dowry, Wes-Kaapse minister van landbou, nou die aand op Elsenburg, en voeg toe by:
“As die regering nie gaan bly fokus op die landbou nie, sit ons met ’n ernstige probleem.”
Hy sê toe ook terloops: “By ons is daar ook voortdurend ’n vyandigheid teenoor die mense wat die kos op
die tafel sit.” En hy waarsku oor boerderye van opkomende boere wat onproduktief is. “As mense nie kan
of wil boer nie, sal die miljoene wat bestee word, opdroog.”
Miskien gedagtig aan die dreigement van me. Lulu Xingwana, minister van landbou en grondsake, om
sulke plase van begunstigdes terug te vat as niks daarop aangaan nie. (Elders gaan dit beslis nie goed met
Nerpo (die organisasie vir ontwikkelende rooivleisprodusente) vra toe sommer ook na aanleiding van
Xingwana se dreigement dat die onproduktiewe plase van kommersiële boere ook afgevat word.
Waarskynlik nie gedagtig daaraan dat dié boere self vir hul plase betaal het en nie die staat nie.
Xingwana se kritiek teen die onbevredigende uitkomste van grondhervorming plaas die blaam ongelukkig
op almal behalwe die amptenary onder haar bestuur wie se verantwoordelikheidsterrein dit eintlik is, was
Agri SA se reaksie.
Volgens Agri SA is die probleme met grondhervorming, landbou-ontwikkeling en voedselsekerheid ’n
werklikheid. “Diegene wat dit uitwys, is nie onpatrioties of destruktief nie. Tog is dit minstens ’n begin
dat die minister die omvattende mislukkings erken en iets daaromtrent wil doen.”
Agri SA twyfel egter of die minister se voorgestelde oplossings na die kern van die vraagstuk deurdring.
As daar nie ernstige probleme met grondhervorming was nie, sou dit nie nodig gewees het om sulke
ingrypende stappe te doen of die “benut-dit-of-verloor-dit”-maatreël in te stel nie.
Die TLU verwys in ’n nuusbrief na die jongste syfers van Statistieke SA (SSA) wat toon hoe die land se
kommersiële boerdery-eenhede afneem. In 1993 was daar byna 58 000, in 2002 net onder 46 000 en in
2007 minder as 40 000.
Dit maak die uitdaging vir grondhervorming soveel groter.
57 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Volgens die TLU moes dié boere oorleef met die onsekerheid oor hul hoofde weens sekere wette en
dreigemente van onteiening, en die onbevoegdheid waarop die grondeise-afdeling van die departement
van grondsake omgaan. Volgens SSA word vyf keer soveel geld aan plaasveiligheid bestee as aan
landbou-navorsing. Sedert 1994 het plaaswerkerlone met 49,2% toegeneem, terwyl die boer se koste met
41,3% gestyg het. Verliese weens misdaad en rampe (natuurlik of deur die mens veroorsaak) beloop R2
2009 03 14 Govt reclaims unproductive farm
Johannesburg - The government took over a farm this week for the first time under a controversial new
policy of taking back unproductive farms allocated to blacks as part of a land redistribution programme.
Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister Lulu Xingwana announced the "use it or lose it" initiative last
week for farms which the black beneficiaries have left idle.
Xingwana said the ostrich farm in Hammanskraal, north of the capital Pretoria, was repossessed
"following demeaning reports regarding the poor conditions of the ostriches".
The government had leased the farm to a cooperative since 2007 but the new farmers did not run it
productively, she said.
"I have requested Phaphamang Ma-Africa (cooperative) beneficiaries to relinquish themselves from the
lease agreement they have with the Department of Land Affairs," Xingwana said in a speech on Friday.
She said the government was appalled at the deterioration of the farm since the cooperative took over two
"Of the 77 ostriches originally on the farm, only 57 could be accounted for," she said.
"Several of the birds were limping and they were in a chronic condition which would therefore probably
not respond to treatment. This would consequently result in infertility."
The land affairs department will try to revive the farm and make it productive, treat the ostriches, repair
the farm infrastructure and establish markets for the project.
Farmers organisations have given mixed responses to the government's repossession policy.
Land reform is a sensitive issue, brought into focus by the decline in agriculture in neighbouring
Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe's government often violently evicted white commercial
58 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
"Clearly this 'use it or lose it' policy is a noble idea in terms of ensuring that our people are going to
farm," said Motsepe Matlala, president of the National African Farmers Union, which represents new
"Obviously we can't all be farmers... The challenge now is (that) all the people that want to approach
government for farms must be selected carefully," he said.
The redistribution programme is part of a government plan developed after the fall of apartheid in 1994 to
hand 30% of all agricultural land to the black majority by 2014.
Apart from redistribution, which enables blacks to secure loans to buy or lease land from the government,
the land reform programme also includes restitution, by which black communities recover ancestral land
taken from them under apartheid.
But critics say the government has dragged its feet on giving land back to blacks, while others say the
programme has been poorly implemented, with the government failing to provide adequate support to
new farmers once they are allocated land.
2009 03 17 Emerging farmers need help
"To be successful, emerging farmers must find affordable transport, good storage facilities and produce
high quality crops. They also need to be provided with proper mentorship or else they will only ever be
emerging farmers," said Integrated Meat Processors of the Eastern Cape (IMPEC) funding officer Martin
Fick was addressing hundreds of farmers at a two-day conference at the fourth annual AgriBEE
showcasing and networking event that was held last week at the Ingwenyama Lodge in Nelspruit.
The event was aimed at helping farmers access funding from AgriBEE, telling them how to access market
opportunities, showing them stakeholder partnership models and informing them about Black Economic
Fick encouraged farmers to form partnerships so that they could share ideas and support each other.
"Most farmers that are in partnerships are more successful than farmers who try and go it alone," he said.
Farmers from rural areas in Mpumalanga said they weren't exposed to marketing opportunities and
information about exporting their crops like their counterparts in other areas like Gauteng.
Julius Mkhabela, a vegetable farmer who works 22 hectares of land near Hazyview, said he tries his best
to produce high-quality vegetables but ends up selling his produce cheaply because he can't afford the
59 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
"We farmers produce tons of produce that is supposed to be exported but we don't know what the proper
procedures are to do so," said Mkhabela.
He added that a lot of emerging farmers were going out of business because they couldn't get loans from
financial institutions because the process was too time-consuming and difficult to follow.
"We knock on office doors like headless chickens and never get any assistance. The institutions ask us to
bring one document after the other. Eventually we give up," said Mkhabela.
John Shongwe, a sugarcane farmer from Nkomazi who benefited from the land reform process, said the
department of agriculture must "cut out the middle man".
"Land affairs gives people money to help the beneficiaries start farming and develop their skills. All the
do is take the money and walk away before the programs are complete," said Shongwe.
He said that if government officials had been monitoring farms handed over to beneficiaries there
wouldn't have been so many farms that had collapsed.
"They wait until the farm fails and then try to fix the problem that should have been addressed before it
happened," said Shongwe.
- African Eye
2009 03 17 Land: 'Use or lose' rejected
Cape Town - A land rights group has rejected Land Affairs Minister Lulu Xingwana's "use it or lose it"
hard line on land redistribution.
The Right to Agrarian Reform for Food Sovereignty Campaign on Tuesday demanded an immediate halt
to the process of taking land away from historically disadvantaged farmers.
It said in a statement that it was market-based land reform policies which were responsible for failures,
not farmers who were not passionate about farming.
It said it intended to resist actions that would "further dispossess and disempower the landless".
The campaign said it represented farm workers, small scale farmers and other interest groups in the land
rights sector in the Western and Northern Cape.
Xingwana last week put the "use it or lose it" principle to action when she ordered the seizure of an
ostrich farm from land reform beneficiaries.
She said those who were not committed to farming had to be removed from the land and replaced "by
those who have a passion for farming".
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2009 03 20 Land Bank chief's vanishing act
ADRIAAN BASSON AND YOLANDI GROENEWALD
Sacked Land Bank chief Phil Mohlahlane was involved in an extraordinary property deal in which he
abandoned a R2,7-million lump sum on an upmarket property he had offered to purchase.
The money, which has murky origins, has been sitting in the account of the property owner, Sean
Roelofsz, for the past 16 months after Mohlahlane vanished and could not be contacted to pay the transfer
fees. The transaction -- or attempted transaction -- has been reported to the Financial Intelligence Centre.
Mohlahlane is the former deputy director general in the Agriculture Department responsible for the
multimillion-rand AgriBEE fund intended to give support to emerging black farmers.
He was fired in December last year without official reasons being given. However, the Mail & Guardian
has established that his dismissal was linked to his alleged misuse of the AgriBEE fund.
Agriculture Minister Lulu Xingwana transferred Mohlahlane to the troubled Land Bank in mid-2007 after
the resignation of chief executive Alan Mukoki.
The Land Bank board instituted a forensic investigation into the AgriBEE fund's dealings at the end of
last year. The report, compiled by audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, is yet to be released.
The fund has been at the centre of the bank's turmoil since Mohlahlane took over its reins. Xolile Ncame,
the former finance chief of the Land Bank, last year accused Xingwana of meddling in the fund's affairs
by removing files relating to the fund from the bank's offices.
Now a dodgy property deal involving Mohlahlane, former Gauteng housing minister Dan Mofokeng and
Polokwane attorney Matuba Maponya has led to further concerns about the appropriation of money meant
for developing black farmers.
At the centre of the Mohlahlane dispute is a hectare of prime property in the upmarket Saddlebrook Estate
in Kyalami, Gauteng, that has a farm-like atmosphere where owners are able to stable horses on their own
stands. Houses in the estate sell from R7-million upwards.
According to Pam Golding agent Tony Santana, in late 2007 Mohlahlane showed an interest in buying
Saddlebrook property. He expressed interested in two other plots before finally making a R2,7-million
offer for plot 115 on November 11 2007.
The M&G is in possession of Mohlahlane's offer to purchase, signed by him and seller Sean Roelofsz.
At the time Mohlahlane earned just over a million rand per year as acting Land Bank chief. As DDG he
earned less than a million rand per year.
61 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Santana confirmed that a cash deposit of R2,7-million was made into Pam Golding's account.
"I supposed he [Mohlahlane] would pay a 10% deposit on the property. He said: 'No, my attorney will put
the money in your account.' An attorney from Polokwane subsequently deposited the full purchase price,"
The M&G has identified the Polokwane attorney as Matuba Maponya, who transferred the full amount
from his trust account to Pam Golding on November 9 2007 -- two days prior to Mohlahlane signing the
offer to purchase.
Maponya's involvement is curious. Between October and December 2007 at least R16-million was
transferred to his trust account from the AgriBEE fund under Mohlahlane's control.
According to payment schedules in the M&G's possession, an amount of R7-million was paid to
Maponya for the "Dipala Tema" project and R9-million for "farming acquisition by Tswelepele farming
enterprises". It is unclear whether any of these projects exist.
After signing the offer to purchase, Mohlahlane abruptly disappeared. According to estate agent Santana
only the transfer costs (about R180 000) were due, but they couldn't get hold of Mohlahlane to pay.
"We couldn't get him, we couldn't get the costs. He never came through with costs. We put him on terms,
he was in breach of the contract."
The deal was eventually cancelled and costs were paid to Pam Golding and the transfer attorneys from the
R2,7-million. The balance was paid over to seller Roelofsz.
According to Santana it was "all very unusual" and they reported the transaction to the Financial
Enter another character in the mystery -- Mofokeng -- who tried to take over the Saddlebrook transaction
and also benefited from the AgriBEE fund with a sweet R3,5-million grant to his company Nzhelele
Resources Africa for a feedlot.
Mofokeng, who was Gauteng housing minister in the cabinets of Mathole Motshekga and Tokyo Sexwale
from 1994 to 1999, is said to be a close associate of Mohlahlane. Both men, as well as Maponya, live in
The company register shows that Mofokeng registered a shelf company, Mayborn Investments 12, on
December 3 2007 with himself as the sole director. On the same day, Mayborn's "board of directors"
resolved that Mofokeng was "authorised and mandated to represent and to act on behalf of the company
in respect of the transaction relation to Saddle Brook (sic) Estate".
Mofokeng signed as chairperson and Mohlahlane and Maponya as witnesses.
When Mohlahlane wanted to transfer the offer to purchase from his name to Mayborn, Roelofsz became
suspicious and balked.
62 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
This was after the Saturday Star revealed on December 15 2007 that Mohlahlane had been using an
illegitimate ID document to buy the Saddlebrook property.
Roelofsz confirmed to the M&G that the R2,7-million minus commissions was still in his account.
Neither Mohlahlane nor Maponya have instituted legal proceedings to recover the money.
He subsequently sold the property to an unrelated buyer.
Mohlahlane did not want to comment on the Saddlebrook deal when approached by the M&G. He said
the deal was part of a labour action he had lodged against the Department of Agriculture and therefore
When asked for comment, Mofokeng replied via SMS: "I owe you nothing. Go to the law enforcement
offices to lay charges. Make sure your facts can be are [sic] correct. I reserve all my rights"; and later: "I
am not involved in mudslinging games. I am a private citizen with full rights and protected by the
constitution. I hope that you can substantiate your allegations. I have no doubt that you understand what I
am saying. Enjoy your day".
Maponya cited attorney-client privilege as the reason he could not comment.
Refusing to comment, the Agriculture Department also cited the "sub-judice" rule.
2009 0321Staat se planne vir landelike hervorming is nie volhoubaar
Hennie Duvenhage http://jv.news24.com/Rapport/Sake-Rapport/0,,752-803_2489414,00.html
Die Suid-Afrikaanse landbousektor is besig om in ’n verstommende vinnige tempo te verander, maar dié
verandering is nie dit wat die staat in die oog het nie.
Daar is dus ernstige twyfel of die staat se plan vir die landbou gaan werk, en of dit nie die landbousektor
gaan ondermyn nie.
Die SA Instituut vir Rassebetrekkinge sê in ’n meningstuk in reaksie op Statistieke SA (SSA) se
landbousensus wat onlangs gepubliseer is, dat die regering landelike hervorming sien as die steunpilaar
van sy landelike ontwikkelingstrategie.
Met landelike hervorming word in werklikheid bedoel die verandering van kommersiële landbou met die
oog daarop dat die landbousektor ’n heenkome sal bied vir die landelike werkloses en armes.
Dit sal bereik word deur kleinboere grootliks te vestig op grond wat in die grondhervormingsproses
Luidens die instituut se meningstuk glo die regering voorts dat dit daarin sal slaag om markkragte te
omseil omdat die beginsel van ’n gewillige koper gewillige verkoper nie die resultate lewer wat verwag is
63 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Die instituut glo egter nie dat die benadering vrugte sal afwerp nie aangesien die getal plaasondernemings
en die getal mense wat deur die plaasondernemings in diens geneem word, drastiese dalings toon.
Luidens die sensus het die getal plaasondernemings tussen 2002 en 2007 met 13% afgeneem terwyl die
getal werknemers in dieselfde tyd met 16% gedaal het. Die nominale inkomste van die eenhede het egter
met 49% gestyg en die lone wat betaal is, het met 39% gestyg.
“Hierdie neigings dui daarop dat markkragte in Suid-Afrika daartoe lei dat plase meer daarop ingestel
raak dat ekonomieë van skaal bereik word om volhoubaar te bly,” lui die meningstuk.
“Deur met minder werknemers ’n groter inkomste te genereer, raak plase al hoe meer effektief.”
Daar was ook ’n beduidende groei in investering in die bedryf en dit dui daarop dat daar transformasie
plaasvind deur meer effektief te raak ten einde ’n volhoubare deel van die land se ekonomie te wees.
Die staat se veranderingsmodel vir die landelike gebiede vra egter die teenoorgestelde naamlik dat boere
se plase kleiner moet word en meer mense in diens moet neem.
“Die staat en verskeie nie-regeringsorganisasies sal betoog dat kleinboer-bestaanswyse ’n volhoubare
model is, maar in die lig van die neigings wat uitgelig is, is dit wensdenkery,” lui die instituut se mening.
Daar word gesê dat deur die model op landbou af te wil dwing, die staat die landbousektor onherroeplik
sal ondermyn. Die risiko is te groot om met ’n beleid deur te druk wat teen die grein van die ekonomie
Die instituut sê die land het reeds onder die Mbeki-administrasie ’n netto invoerder van voedsel geword.
Die redes hiervoor sluit in ’n vinnig groeiende bevolking en dat die groei in effektiwiteit in die
landbousektor reeds nie tred gehou het met die groei in die vraag na landbouprodukte nie.
Die mislukkings van plase onder grondeise en plase wat reeds aan eisers oorgedra is, dra luidens die
instituut se meningstuk daartoe by dat Suid-Afrika ’n netto invoerder van kos geword het.
Daar word ook daarna verwys dat voedselinflasie een van die vernaamste faktore is wat die
verbruikersprys-indeks aanvuur en dat dit ook een van die vernaamste redes is dat huishoudings noustrop
“Waar grondeise bestaan, moet die ekonomiese haalbaarheid en die groter prentjie van voedselsekerheid
meer gewig dra as politieke of historiese redes vir hervorming,” lui die instituut se verklaring.
“Die staat mag meen dat die versnelling van grondhervorming ’n politieke noodsaaklikheid is en dat die
gebrek aan vordering in die verband die risiko van onstabiliteit inhou, maar daar is ook politieke gevolge
van hoë voedselpryse wat ’n groter risiko kan inhou.”
2009 03 23 Forum: Só ploeg die regering skeef
64 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Die laaste aantal jare het hy toenemend bekommerd geraak oor wat met die landbou gebeur en wat die
gevolge daarvan vir Suid-Afrika kan wees, skryf KRAAI VAN NIEKERK.
Op 22 April eindig my 28 jaar lange politieke betrokkenheid in die parlement.
In dié tyd was die landbou na aan my hart. Sonder om voorbarig te wees, wil ek ’n paar gedagtes aan die
inkomende regering deurgee om die verslegtende omstandighede in die landbou die hoof te bied.
Die landbou met sy 40 000 kommersiële boere, 432 000 heeltydse en 365 000 deeltydse werknemers wat
96% van die verkoopbare landbouproduksie in Suid-Afrika produseer, is ’n bate wat welvaart en
werkgeleenthede skep en voedsel produseer.
Die Nasionale Bemarkingsraad verwys na die afname in voedselproduksie te midde van ’n toename van
32% in die bevolking die afgelope 15 jaar. Dit is ’n gevaarlike tendens.
’n Suksesvolle landboubedryf is gegrond op noue interaksie op verskeie terreine tussen die regering en
die landbousektor. Dit raak navorsing, voorligting, hantering van rampe, geldelike aanmoediging, sinvolle
finansiering, opleiding, siektebeheer en beskerming teen die invoer van gesubsidieerde produkte van
Dit behels ook dat die nodige internasionale vereistes vir die in- en uitvoer van landbouprodukte tydig
deur die regering onderhandel en gereed moet wees.
Geen van bogenoemde aspekte is egter bevredigend nie, en dit strem landbou-ontwikkeling.
Boonop het weens die uitfasering van beheerrade na ’n markgerigte produksiestelsel ’n paar jaar gelede
waardevolle bedryfskoördinering en ontwikkeling verlore gegaan wat nie deur die regering ondervang of
deur die bedryfsorganisasies in stand gehou kon word nie.
Die afgelope tien jaar het die regering dus op byna elke gebied ernstig misluk om landboubelange reg te
bestuur. Voedselsekerheid is daarom nou ’n wesenlike probleem.
Die klem in regeringskringe het verskuif weg van fundamentele beginsels vir ’n gesonde kommersiële
landbou na ontwikkelingslandbou en grondhervorming se behoeftes.
Die vestiging van nuwe boere het voorrang geniet sonder dat die nodige geldelike en kundige
ondersteuningsmaatreëls ingestel is.
Dit het jammerlik misluk, en produserende plase het braaklande geword.
Voeg hierby die feit dat misdaad in plattelandse gebiede nie deur die regering bestry kan word nie en dat
boere en werkers op plase vermoor word (587 van 2001 tot 2007) en diefstal van vee en produkte
toeneem. Dit het die hele landbousektor onder nog groter druk geplaas.
Die uitdaging vir die nuwe regering is om die landbou weer onder kundige politieke en wetenskaplike
bestuur te plaas.
Eerstens moet die departemente van landbou en grondsake geskei word en elk ’n eie minister kry.
65 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Die huidige regering se botsende belange werk nadelig in op altwee departemente.
Oor grondhervorming moet herbesin word om die volhoubare gebruik van grond vir produksie en
oorlewing van nuwe toetreders te bewerkstellig, saam met die nodige begeleiding en finansiering.
Die kundigheid hiervoor lê buite die staatsdiens, en die proses sal alleen suksesvol wees as die private
sektor se aanbod aanvaar word om te help dat grondhervorming binne ekonomiese beginsels in ’n
vryemark-omgewing ontwikkel word.
Wat voedselsekerheid betref, is die sleutel die ontwikkeling van die 1 miljoen hektaar hoëpotensiaal-
grond wat hoofsaaklik in die vorige tuislande is. Dit sal help om armoede daar te bestry én grootliks bydra
tot die produksie van kos en grondstowwe vir ons groeiende bevolking te midde van ’n veranderende
Die navorsing hiervoor is al gedoen, en die kennis is beskikbaar – dit is net die beleid en wil wat
Die landbou is onder toenemende kostedruk weens onder meer produksie-insetverhogings. Dit benadeel
winsgewendheid en jaag kospryse op.
Veral die arbeidsbeleid vir die landbou moet hersien word.
Na raming sorg slegs 3 000 boere vir 80% van die landbouproduksie in Suid-Afrika. Ons buurlande soek
hulle en lok al hoe meer Suid-Afrikaanse boere weg.
Ook die wetenskaplikes in die landbou verlaat die Landbounavorsingsraad en word aangestel in
soortgelyke instellings buite Suid-Afrika teen bevordering en beter besoldiging.
Die regering se onverskillige houding jeens die verlies van dié kundigheid (boere én wetenskaplikes) wek
Dit is die kommersiële boere wat tesame met navorsing die markte en nywerhede van die land van
voedsel en grondstowwe voorsien, en nie klein- of bestaansboere nie.
Groot en kleinboere verg elk eie finansiering- en hulpmaatreëls, wat wissel van markverwante rente tot
gesubsidieerde produksiemiddele en kapitaal te midde van ondersteuningsmaatreëls vir krisistye.
As dié aspekte bestaan en goed bestuur word, floreer groot en kleinboere en is genoeg kos beskikbaar.
Die uitdaging aan die regering is om die verlede eenkant te skuif en daarop te konsentreer om die regte
beleid vir die landbou te kry – en om die uitdaging te aanvaar om die samewerking van die
landbougemeenskap te kry vir die uitvoering van die beleid.
Om weens die verlede onverskillig te staan teenoor kommersiële boere se probleme en só na te laat om
tydig die regte besluite vir die hede en die toekoms te neem, kan Suid-Afrika in ’n groter krisis dompel as
wat algemeen besef word.
Ek hoop van harte die inkomende regering sal nuut hieroor dink.
66 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Dr. Van Niekerk is ’n DA-LP en ’n oudminister van landbou.
2009 03 24 Fifty nine (59) Land claims outstanding
Pretoria - Fifty-nine land claims still have to be settled in Gauteng and the North West, the regional land
claims commissioner said in Pretoria on Tuesday.
Tumi Seboka said 99.5% of the 13 194 lodged claims had been settled.
"The two provinces remain with 59 claims outstanding. Virtually all Gauteng claims have been settled
with one expropriation case still in court," she told a press briefing.
About R2.5bn had been spent on the claims so far. All outstanding cases would be settled this financial
year, except those in court.
"Not all restitution cases can be settled through negotiations and some have been referred to the Land
Seboka explained that the biggest cases that had been referred to court involved land in Hartebeespoort
being claimed by the Bapo ba Mogale and Bakwena ba Mogopa in the North West. The other involved
the Makgareng community in Gauteng.
The current owners of the land were disputing the validity of the claims.
She said in settling rural agricultural land, they tried to ensure that settlement agreements were in place.
This included mentoring by commercial farmers, skills development and funding by the departments of
agriculture and labour.
Task team set up
A programme to enable claimants to draw up business plans had been established to enable them to get
funding from provinces.
A task team had also been formed to oversee the implementation of restitution projects. The team
consisted of representatives from the regional land claims commission, the Agricultural Research Council
and the national and provincial department of agriculture.
Seboka said although there had been successes, the pace and quality of restitution continued to be affected
by protracted negotiations, high land prices, community disputes, lack of skill and funding to support
North West agriculture, conservation and tourism MEC Jan Serfontein said the province had made
progress in talking to farmers to sell the land for restitution.
67 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
"It is not easy to convince farmers to sell..." he said.
His counterpart in Gauteng, Khabisi Mosunkutu said most of the claims lodged in the province were
urban and had been settled through financial compensation.
2009 03 25 Give land to workers - AgriSA
Centurion - South Africa's largest farmers' union urged the government on Wednesday to revise its new
policy of taking back unproductive farms.
Theo de Jager, deputy president of farmers body AgriSA, said the government's "use it or lose it" policy
was likely to worsen tensions between unions, the government and land reform beneficiaries.
"The whole process should be redesigned. We fear that this (use it or lose it policy) might lead to even
more conflict ... on land reform farms," De Jager told a media briefing.
Tensions have surfaced over the selection of beneficiaries for the land redistribution programme, with
unions accusing the government of giving land that should be used for commercial farming to
inexperienced and inadequately supported people, threatening South Africa's food security.
Land reform is a sensitive issue, highlighted by the decline in agriculture in Zimbabwe, where President
Robert Mugabe's government violently evicted white commercial farmers from their land.
"We call for a total redesign of the composition of beneficiaries," De Jager said. "For one, land should not
be transferred to whole communities, it doesn't work."
He said farm workers and ex-farm workers should be given priority in the selection of beneficiaries for
"Many of them have spent a lifetime on farms and very often they have all the practical know-how," he
The government took over an ostrich farm from a co-operative earlier this month after Agriculture and
Land Affairs Minister Lulu Xingwana announced the "use it or lose it" policy for farms which the black
beneficiaries have left idle.
Xingwana said the policy would be applied to farms falling under the redistribution programme, which
enables blacks to secure loans to buy or lease land from the government.
68 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
It would not apply to restitution, by which black communities recover ancestral land taken from them
2009 03 30 Strenger wetgewing kom oor uitsettings
George. - Strenger wetgewing kom om plaaswerkers teen uitsetting te beskerm.
Só het me. Lulu Xingwana, minister van landbou en grondsake, boere gewaarsku nadat sy Sondag
plaaswerkers besoek het wat in die Geelhoutboom-omgewing buite George glo van ’n plaas afgesit is.
Xingwana het ook die voorval waarin ’n plaaswerker se huis verlede maand glo op bevel van ’n
plaaseienaar met ’n stootskraper platgestoot is, sterk veroordeel.
Volgens haar kom daar talle onwettige uitsettings in die Suid-Kaap voor. Sy het gesê in baie gevalle word
die plaaswerkers nie in kennis gestel van die uitsettings nie, of dit word gedoen terwyl daar nog nie ’n
uitsettingsbevel deur die hof toegestaan is nie. In baie gevalle word die plaaswerkers se besittings ook
vernietig en word gesinne met niks agtergelaat.
Sy het benadruk dat haar departement strenger gaan optree teen oortreders en dat amptenare die
uitsettings saam met plaaswerkers in die howe sal beveg.
Volgens haar gaan die departement ondersoek instel om moontlik grond te koop om die afgesette
plaaswerkers in die Geelhoutboom te hervestig. Sy het gesê haar departement het sowat 1 000 plase vir
plaaswerkers gekoop. Sy het boere gewaarsku dat strenger wetgewing oor uitsettings reeds aan die
parlement voorgelê is.
Xingwana het die oggend met opkomende boere in Thembalethu buite George vergader. Opkomende
boere in die Suid-Kaap is veral ontevrede oor die gebrek aan grond, die stadige pas van grondhervorming,
die privatisering van Transnet (wat men-se sonder werk en eiendomsreg gelaat het), die emmerstelsel wat
nog in gebruik is, plaasuitsettings en hulp van regeringskant.
Altesaam 93 000 mense is die afgelope vyf jaar in die Wes-Kaap deur grondhervorming bemagtig. Sedert
1994 is altesaam 4,8 miljoen ha grond aan swart eienaars in Suid-Afrika oorgedra: 2,7 miljoen ha deur
herverdeling en 2,1 miljoen ha deur restitusie.
2009 03 30 New farm invasions block aid [ZIMBABWE]
69 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
A rush of new farm seizures has emerged as the biggest hurdle to Zimbabwe receiving foreign aid to
support its ambitious economic recovery plan.
European governments, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank met Zimbabwean
government officials throughout recently, trying to assess the commitment of the new government to
economic and political reforms.
The deteriorating security on the farms has emerged as the key point of concern during the talks.
Danish and Norwegian ministers held talks in Zimbabwe, while Sweden pledged to increase humanitarian
assistance to the country. However none made concrete promises to provide budgetary support.
Last week the IMF demanded “protection of property rights” and further economic reforms before any
new aid will be given and Finance Minister Tendai Biti conceded that farm seizures have been one of the
major issues raised by the donors.
An emergency economic recovery programme launched two weeks ago, which sought to win over
sceptical donors, pledged to protect farmers and halt new seizures. The government would “uphold the
rule of law as well as enforce law and order on farms, including arresting any further farm invasions
which disrupt farming activities”.
But across the country invasions are increasing. Ben Freeth of the farmers’ union, Justice for Agriculture,
said many farmers are being hauled into court for failing to leave farms that have been marked for
The Commercial Farmers’ Union, the members of which are mostly white farmers, is said to have sought
a meeting with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai about the issue. In response Tsvangirai was due to
meet the ministers of agriculture and home affairs as well as the heads of other security ministries.
Economist Tony Hawkins, who met the IMF team, said the delegation wanted to know “who is really in
control; and an issue that comes to mind is that the government says it will not tolerate land invasions and
yet they are still continuing”.
Unions claim there was massive fraud in the issuing of “offer letters”, authorisations given to
beneficiaries by the previous minister of land resettlement allowing them to occupy land.
Officials in the new government were unable to say this week if new offer letters were still being issued.
Many such letters have been deemed illegal by the courts, but in the rush for prime farmland court orders
count for little.
The IMF said in a report last Wednesday: “Technical and financial assistance from the IMF will depend
on establishing a track record of sound policy implementation, donor support and a resolution of overdue
financial obligations to official creditors.”
Vice-President Joice Mujuru told a tourism conference that travel warnings, which have damaged
Zimbabwe’s once robust tourism industry, would be lifted only if “we all publicly and emphatically
condemn violence of whatever form. We need to take serious introspection to see to it that whatever we
say and do does not contribute to the negative perceptions the country suffered abroad.”
70 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Arthur Mutambara, the deputy prime minister, said the farm invasions were a major factor in the West’s
refusal to offer aid to or remove financial restrictions on Zimbabwe.
“Those sanctions were imposed on us by things that we do -- like farm invasions, abductions and the
breakdown of the rule of law. People have perceptions about governance in Zimbabwe, so we should do
something to correct these perceptions,” Mutambara said.
2009 04 08 Ostrich farm a symbol of SA's failed land reforms
CHARLOTTE PLANTIVE | HAMMANSKRAAL, SOUTH AFRICA http://www.mg.co.za/article/2009-
Stripped of furniture and without running water, an ostrich farm outside Pretoria is a sad example of
South Africa's wobbly efforts to bring black South Africans on to farmlands still owned mainly by whites.
Small-scale farmers who had rented the farm have now abandoned it, leaving the ostriches to languish in
their pens, limping and infertile.
The government bought the farm in Hammanskraal in 2007. It was rented out but by last August it was
Faced with the farm's failure, the agriculture ministry for the first time applied a "use it or lose it" policy,
claiming back the land last month for use by new farmers.
"Land must be fully utilised," said the minister, Lulu Xingwana.
"No farm must be allowed to lie fallow. Those who are not committed to farming must be removed from
the allocated farm and be replaced by those who have a passion for farming, including agricultural
The strong response is meant to ease fears that South Africa could follow Zimbabwe's road, where chaotic
and often violent land reforms begun in 2000 led to sharp drops in production and left Zimbabweans
dependent on foreign food aid.
"One thing is clear, that the minister is using the principle as a punitive measure rather than an incentive,
and as a defence mechanism against the criticisms of failure of land reform projects," said Glen Thomas,
former director general at the ministry.
"It also creates the impression that the woes faced by the untransformed, capitalist agriculture in this
country must be put at the doorstep of land reform beneficiaries who are not using their farmland
The commercial farmers' union, known as Agri SA, said often new farmers struggle to survive because of
the difficulties in lining up finance for their operations.
71 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
"It is very often not their mistake that the farm collapses, it is because of the administrative red tape in the
department," the group's vice-president Theo de Jager said.
In 1994 as the apartheid regime fell, 87% of South Africa's arable land was white-owned. The
government plans to redistribute 30% of it to black or mixed-race farmers by 2015.
But as the country prepares to vote on April 22, only 5% of the land has actually changed hands.
The Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (Plaas) noted in a report that farming "remains
dominated by relatively few, large-scale, capital-intensive and generally white-owned enterprises
alongside millions of small and poorly resourced black farmers".
Senior researcher Michael Aliber said that about half of the resettlement projects had collapsed, but
questioned if the beneficiaries should be blamed.
"The question is, who bears the responsibility for that? If it is inadequate planning or poor assistance, why
should we blame the beneficiaries?" he said.
The African National Congress promises in its election manifesto to step up the land reforms and to
provide new farmers with financing and technical skills.
"Rural and land issues have been shamefully neglected by government since 1994," said Plaas director
Ben Cousins, who welcomed the party's focus on the issue, but said the government shows little sign of
increasing the meagre budget allocated for reforms.
"The lack of detail here is very disappointing," he said. - AFP
2009 04 15 Armed mob invades land reform project in Mpumalanga
An armed mob has invaded a major land reform project in Malelane, Mpumalanga, a local newspaper
reported on Wednesday.
The mob, armed with knives and machetes, seized control of the farm, the country's biggest land
restitution project by value, Business Day said.
It is one of several farms handed back to four communities who lost their land under apartheid legislation.
The paper said the invaders were unhappy with the progress of the project, despite warnings that it would
take up to three years before a return from what had been badly neglected farms.
The incident occurred last Thursday.
Agribusiness Umlimi, which controls the farm management company Makhombo for the Lugedlane
community, was quoted by the paper as saying the invasion was a consequence of unreasonable profit
72 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
2009 04 16 Shaky ground
FUNDAMENTAL to SA’s land reform programme — specifically the restitution of land to people
dispossessed under apartheid laws — has always been to see justice done as swiftly as possible. But now,
after the third postponement of the land claims deadline, and mounting evidence that “finalised” land
claims are coming apart, it is clear that the government is failing to achieve speedy redress.
When the legislature chose the simpler administrative restitution process over the laborious route through
the courts, it was thought to be in the interest of social and political stability and that the greater justice
would be done by acting quickly.
That has not happened. Despite the Land Claims Commission’s claim that about 95% of claims have been
settled, a significant number of mostly rural people who have a right to restitution is still waiting to see
the benefits of land reform.
What we have now is a mess of conflicting claims, corruption and injustice. The unravelling of parts of
the showcase R10bn restitution project at Tenbosch in Mpumalanga is the latest example.
In most cases, the people caught up in these claims were dispossessed of their land as whole communities
and instituted their land claims as communities. Perversely, they are also the people who are in the
greatest need of land and support. Civil society organisations estimate that no more than 250 of these
claims were community claims in which rural land has been restored and, worse, that the total number of
such claims is unknown.
In the first instance, that means it is impossible for the commission to accurately estimate the scope of the
work to be done, let alone arrive at a budget for crucial post-settlement support.
More disastrous, however, is the commission’s insistence on verifying community claims as claims by
persons instead of verifying the community’s right to a claim. The effect of that blunder is that a great
number of individuals are now claiming community restitution benefits as descendants of individuals,
which is inappropriate.
That mistake, perpetuated by the commission, has led to conflicting claims, the corrupt trade in
community membership and new challenges in the Land Claims Court to the validity of land claims, all
which are delaying the process for valid claims by communities.
With the benefit of hindsight, it might have been better — and quicker — to have settled SA’s land claims
in court, but it is clearly too late to reverse the policy. What the commission has to do now is to stop its
headlong rush to transfer land at all costs and assess each restitution case against the legislation in which
the verification process for community land claims and for individual land claims is clearly defined.
A thorough re-examination of restitution may seem like yet another delay, but if the commission fails to
do this, SA might never see the end of what has become a debilitating drain on the economy and a
prolonged perversion of justice.
73 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
2009 04 16 State in clash over land-claim project
THE Land Claims Commission has accused Umlimi, a strategic partner in the government’s R10bn
Tenbosch land-restitution project, of nonperformance, which led to an invasion of the project by
disgruntled land-reform beneficiaries last week.
Umlimi has rejected the claim.
A group of armed land-claims beneficiaries have ousted the management on Foroma, a fruit and sugar
cane farm, and taken control of the operations. The management company is a joint venture between
agribusiness Umlimi and the beneficiary community.
Mpumalanga’s acting regional land claims commissioner, Tumi Seboka, said yesterday Umlimi had failed
to develop the farms to acceptable levels.
“Our position is that we are not going to allow any running down of farms and disruption at the expense
of the community.”
She also said the commission held a meeting with all parties on April 7 where a process already agreed
upon was finalised.
Ulimi director Derek Pettit said he had attended no such meeting. He also said Umlimi had spent about
R38m on the farm, R10m of which was spent on infrastructure and plantations, which was refundable by
the government, but had not yet been paid.
He said despite the considerable constraints, the operation was productive, though it would take time
before it was profitable.
2009 04 23 Land to be productive
There has been much interest generated over time by the media since the Department of Land Affairs
announcement to implement the “use it or lose it” policy, with others perpetuating unfounded perceptions
and myths which suggest that the department is depriving the land beneficiaries of the land.
Land is a precious resource and as such, it is the ministry’s contention that no land should lie fallow and
unproductive; and no agricultural asset redistributed to the beneficiaries should lie idle against the
backdrop of poverty and unemployment this government is fighting to eradicate.
74 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
The “use it or lose it” policy is only applicable to redistributed land and not to the restitution programme
as this is a rights-based programme for those who were dispossessed of their land due to apartheid land
laws and practices — but the targeted farms to be taken away under this policy should be those farms on
which the department is convinced that there is no agricultural activity taking place, where there are
absentee landlords, or those farms that are used for a purpose they were not intended for.
For beneficiaries of land reform to achieve their farming objectives, strategic planning and dedication to
farming must happen to ensure the success of all land redistributed projects.
And to revitalise land reform projects which are not performing to expected levels the Department of
Agriculture should enlist the services of partners and a wide variety of experts such as field veterinarians,
animal health technicians, etc to ensure the improvement of the reproductive capacity, nutrition and health
of all the livestock projects and crops
Essentially a class of successful black commercial farmers and emergent farmers will reach the
government’s land reform expectations.
Let’s build our agricultural sector — black or white farmers.
2009 05 01 Bloedsweet by Gariep
Die Malema-besoek aan Orania het SAKKIE BADENHORST laat besin oor dwalinge met landelike
ontwikkeling én die lesse wat uit ’n vergange benadering te leer is.
Die kwessie van landelike ontwikkeling in Suid-Afrika het weer in die kollig gekom toe mnre. Jacob
Zuma en Julius Malema groot lof uitgespreek het vir Orania as ’n “doeltreffende vorm van landelike
ontwikkeling” wat as voorbeeld vir die res van die land kan dien.
Dit is te verstane dat Malema beïndruk was ná sy besoek, want komende van Limpopo moes hy Orania
des te meer as ’n oase in die woestyn ervaar het. Wat hom noodwendig moes beïndruk het, is die algehele
ordelikheid en sigbare tekens van goeie bestuur, ooglopende, relatiewe welvaart, moderne landbou, en so
Tydens sy gesprekke met plaaslike verteenwoordigers is aspekte wat ’n fundamentele rol in die
suksesvolle ontwikkeling van Orania gespeel het (en steeds speel), maar buite die gesigsveld lê,
waarskynlik ook geopper: soos toegang tot kapitaal, die rol van kundigheid en opleiding op talle terreine,
en die rol van ’n protestantse werketiek.
Dan is daar agter die skerms verskeie ander aspekte wat van grondliggende belang vir ontwikkeling in
den breë is, maar wat allig onbesonge gebly het. Dat die plaaslike bestuur se telefone byvoorbeeld flink
75 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
beantwoord word deur amptenare wat in staat is om bekwaam op navrae te reageer of wat terugskakel met
inligting, speel ’n veel groter rol in ontwikkeling as wat oningewydes ooit kan droom.
As Malema dus verwys na die “doeltreffendheid” van Orania as ’n vorm van landelike ontwikkeling,
verwys hy eintlik na die resultaat van verskeie komplekse prosesse, elk met ’n eie(soortige) geskiedenis
onder unieke omstandighede. So iets kan om verstaanbare redes kwalik ooit elders herhaal word.
As hy egter meen Orania bied ’n goeie voorbeeld (model) wat hom as sodanig leen tot toepassing in die
res van die land, dan dwaal hy gewis.
Dit is ooglopend ondeurdag om die uitkoms van ’n model wat gedryf word deur die gemeenskaplike
strewe van die belanghebbendes na ’n eie volkstaat, te wil afdruk op situasies waar dit vir die
betrokkenes, by wyse van spreke, om den brode gaan. Die dinamika verskil eenvoudig te veel.
Landelike ontwikkeling in Suid-Afrika is uiteraard ten nouste verbind met grondhervorming en daar word
daagliks berig van erge mislukkings wat laasgenoemde betref.
Hierteenoor is landelike ontwikkelingsprojekte in veral die eerste sowat drie dekades van Nasionale
Party-bewind baie suksesvol deurgevoer, ongeag die feit dat dit om politiek-ideologiese redes onderneem
is en verskeie groepe mense en geografiese gebiede uitgesluit het.
Ten grondslag van die apartheidstaat se sukses(se) op hierdie en ander terreine van hervorming en
ontwikkeling is ’n kombinasie van drie hooffaktore: ’n wil om te beplan en te herskep, die formulering en
nastrewing van duidelike doelwitte, en die mobilisering van haas onbeperkte mag in die proses.
Hiermee saam moet in ag geneem word dat dié hervorming tydens die hoogbloei van die modernisme
plaasgevind het wat gekenmerk is deur rasionaliteit, hiërargie, gesag, vaste reëls, “waarheid” en
lydsaamheid, om slegs enkeles te noem.
Dit impliseer natuurlik dat die huidige bestel nie die proses van dinge doen net so uit daardie era kan/sal
nadoen nie, maar hulle kan tog waardevolle lesse uit bepaalde landelike ontwikkelingsprojekte in daardie
Om te illustreer hoe dinge destyds gedoen is, skets ek hier die verhaal van die Gariep-landbounedersetting
naby Groblershoop in die Noord-Kaap.
In die middel van die 1960’s was ek ’n ruk lank as opmeter betrokke by die uitleg en bou van dié
nedersetting, etlike kilometer stroom-af van die Boegoebergdam in die Garieprivier (Oranje). Die projek
het die vestiging behels van sowat 150 arm (wit) gesinne op besproeiingserwe deur die destydse
departement van lande.
Elke perseel het bestaan uit ’n besproeingserf en ’n stuk “buitegrond” waarop ’n sementsteen-woonhuis
van sowat 65m², kwalik groter as ’n “township”-huis, en ’n klein “waenhuis” en “kleinhuisie” opgerig is.
Die huis se vloere was van sement en, as ek reg onthou, was daar nie plafonne nie, altans nie regdeur die
huis nie. Van elektrisiteit was daar geen sprake nie en water vir huishoudelike gebruik is met emmers uit
die besproeingskanaal geskep.
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Die mense was bitter arm en sommige het voorheen ’n trekbestaan in die Kalahari gevoer. Een tante, en
ek glo daar was meer, het my plegtig vertel dit was die eerste keer in haar lewe dat sy in ’n huis met
“vaste mure” woon!
Slegs afhanklike familielede is toegelaat om in te woon en die begunstigde kon nie sonder verlof van die
perseel afwesig wees nie. ’n Laerskool (asbes-opslaangeboue) is voorsien en daar was ’n winkel waar die
broodnodige gekoop kon word.
’n Superintendent was aan die hoof van die projek en hy was in volle beheer van sake. Hy het wel gereeld
met belanghebbendes vergader om hul menings aan te hoor, maar in wese was die program erg
Die superintendent is bygestaan deur opgeleide landboutegniese beamptes wat die tussengangers tussen
hom en die begunstigdes was. Hulle het raad uitgedeel waar nodig en toegesien dat opdragte uitgevoer
Omdat die meeste begunstigdes min, indien enigiets, van besproeiingsboerdery geweet het, was beamptes
se opleidingsrol dus enorm. (Hoe anders verander jy byvoorbeeld die beskouing van iemand wat nie aan
kunsmis “glo” nie?) Begunstigdes moes van ligdag tot donker sigbaar op die lande te werk, met ’n pouse
oor die middaguur.
By nabetragting moet ek erken die reëls het volkome sin gemaak in die omstandighede en is streng, maar
nogtans met begrip en deernis, toegepas.
Die laaste reël op die lys was natuurlik dat ’n begunstigde ná ’n bepaalde aantal “oortredings” summier
van die grond afgesit kon word.
Begunstigdes moes hulself onderwerp aan oorhoofse plant- en ander programme soos deur die
superintendent, en natuurlik die seisoene/omstandighede, bepaal is. Wanneer dit byvoorbeeld tyd was om
ertjies te plant, het almal kennis gekry wanneer lande voorberei en geplant moet word. Landboutegniese
beamptes het deurentyd toesig gehou en met raad en daad bystand verleen.
As ek reg onthou, kon “trekgoed” (muile en donkies) van die departement gehuur word waar die behoefte
’n Klein gedeelte van die perseel kon na eie oordeel vir kontant-in-die-sak-verbouing aangewend word.
Die oes is aan ’n landboukoöperasie gelewer waar skuld vir saad, kunsmis, ensovoorts van die oesgeld
’n Bepaalde persentasie van die opbrengs is ook afgetrek ter delging van die rente en kapitaal vir die
(uiteindelike) koop van die perseel en die res is aan die begunstigde uitbetaal.
Só is die proses herhaal, seisoen ná seisoen en jaar ná jaar, totdat ’n korps van bekwame en onafhanklike
boere ontwikkel het wat heer en meester van hul eie hoewe was. Talle van die oorspronklike begunstigdes
het later jare selfs baie welvarend geraak.
Die proses wat gevolg is met die ontwikkeling van die Gariep-landbounedersetting en ander soortgelyke
landelike ontwikkelingsprojekte van daardie jare, is tipies van hoe dinge destyds gedoen is.
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Dit was gegrond op “gesonde verstand” en het onder die toestande van modernisme uitstekende resultate
Met die voorreg van nabetragting sou die hoofelemente van die proses gelys kon word as finansiële
onderskraging, voorligting, leiding, dissipline en pleinweg (bloed)sweet.
Helaas, net so min as wat Orania tans as model vir landelike ontwikkeling elders in die land voorgehou
kan word, net so min kan Gariep ongewysig tot die ideaal verhef word.
Die wêreld het sedertdien eenvoudig te veel verander en so ook die rolspelers.
Wat wel waar is, is dat die regering oneindig baie kan leer uit die “storie” van die Gariep-
Dit bevat ongetwyfeld ’n baie goeie aanduiding van die tersake elemente wat ’n rol speel in suksesvolle
landelike ontwikkeling van hierdie aard, asook ’n voorspooksel dat drastiese (ongewilde) optrede deel is
van die strewe na sukses.
SAKKIE BADENHORST is emeritus- professor en voormalige hoof van die departement stads- en
streekbeplanning aan die Universiteit van Pretoria, en besoekende professor aan die Universiteit van Lodz
2009 05 04 Land budget in trouble
YOLANDI GROENEWALD | JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
The land claims budget will be nearly exhausted in the first quarter of this financial year, but the treasury
is unlikely to allocate more funds this year.
Acting land claims commissioner Blessing Mphela revealed last week that finalising expensive and
complicated claims will shortly exhaust 90% of the commission's R1,4-billion budget. Mphela has
repeatedly bemoaned high land prices, saying the commission spent more rands for less land.
"The office experienced a backlog challenge in settling some of the 2008/2009 claims," said commission
spokesperson Pulane Molefe. "There were outstanding payments from the previous fiscal year which
needed to be paid." The KwaDube Community claim in KwaZulu-Natal alone would cost R600-million,
The commission needs at least another R4-billion to close the book on restitutions, she said. Insiders
believe that restitutions could realistically be concluded only by 2014 at the earliest -- five years later than
the deadline, which has already shifted once.
But it is unlikely the commission will receive more money from the treasury, given the current budgetary
climate, said land researcher Michael Aliber, of the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the
University of the Western Cape.
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Aliber said there is "some reality to the commission's claims about land prices, since they have risen
dramatically in recent years, particularly between 2006 and 2007, though they have been in decline
But the commission tends to spend about 40% of its budget on 5% of its projects, he added. "I would say
that there is room to manoeuvre that has not been seriously explored. The irony is that some of the most
expensive projects are the most problematic."
Some critics have suggested that the financial woes of the commission might be used to lobby for the
government's controversial expropriation Bill, expected to be reintroduced later this year. But Aliber said
he could not see how expropriation will significantly lower the costs of restitution.
2009 05 11 Land claims body to delist wrongly gazetted farms
THE Land Claims Commission plans to delist large numbers of farms under land claim because it has
discovered that far more properties were gazetted than actually claimed.
This is the first time the government has admitted land claims have expanded in size after being lodged by
communities — a complaint aired by farmers for years.
All provinces are likely to be affected.
“There are instances where land gazetted was not under claim,” chief land claims commissioner Blessing
More than 95% of 80000 claims lodged by victims of apartheid forced removals by the legal cut-off date
in 1998 have been settled to date at a cost of R17,6bn.
Some claims of dubious legality were already being degazetted in the Eastern Cape, to be followed by the
Western Cape, the Free State, the Northern Cape, Gauteng and the North West before more problematic
provinces of Limpopo, Mphumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal were tackled.
Mphela said a preliminary investigation in Limpopo had exposed several cases qualifying for degazetting.
“We are focusing our investigation on the really large claims,” he said. “This is a genuine problem
because it stops further investment on those properties.”
These are likely to include the huge Magoebaskloof claim near Tzaneen in Limpopo, that also covers a
smallholding belonging to Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni . The claim grew from 42 to more than
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Mphela said mistakes were made when commission officials accepted vague property descriptions from
claimants to enlarge community claims, or gazetted claims lodged by workers without occupational
The task team was instructed to identify clear-cut cases that did not meet the basic requirements laid
down by the Restitution Act, which stipulates claimants must show they were dispossessed under racist
laws or practices, and did not receive fair compensation.
Organised agriculture has welcomed the news. “We are extremely relieved,” said AgriSA deputy
president Theo de Jager, who heads the farmers’ union’s land reform desk. firstname.lastname@example.org
2009 05 14 White farmers take up land cause
With its rolling green fields, fat dairy cows and state-of-the-art milking enclosure, the Fort Hare Dairy
Trust outside the Eastern Cape university town of Alice could easily be a shining symbol of how
successful land reform could be in South Africa.
The trust, started from a partnership between 70 white farmers from the Tsitsikamma and Underberg
areas -- through their company Amadlelo Agri -- and the nearby University of Fort Hare, provides
intensive hands-on training to black farmers from around the country.
"We met in 2004 and came to the conclusion that land empowerment is not purely the responsibility of
the government," says Amadlelo Agri chief executive Jeff Every.
"If land reform is to happen properly in South Africa white farmers have to play a role in providing skills
training and resources.
"We have had all the privileges. We have to share what we know and what we have."
The farmers signed on an empowerment company Vuwa Investments, which was given a 35% stake in
the company. The farmers kept 49% and the rest of the company was shared between 600 workers from
the 70 dairy farms. Next Every met the Agricultural Department at the University of Fort Hare and
discussed the farmers' plan.
"We said let's join forces to do research and training for aspiring black students and managers, so that
they have a chance of being successful," Every says.
The university offered to contribute research and scientific knowledge to the farm and donated R2-million
to the project. It also offered a piece of land outside town, which it owned through the Department of
A further R5 million was received from Amadlelo and two amounts from the Land Bank -- R7,5-million
in equity and R7,5-million credit.
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Now that it had the land, the farmers would need a manager. Every already had someone in mind.
Leonard Mavhungu was born and brought up in Thohoyandou in Venda.
For a time he worked for Rand Water, but found he longed to live the life of a farmer. He met a
recruitment agent and asked about the possibilities of farm work.
Days later the agent told Mavhungu Amadlelo Agri was looking for interns. Mavhungu was interviewed
and in 2005 he was given a position on the company's two year farming programme. Some of South
Africa's top pasture farmers would be his mentors.
When Mavhungu graduated from his internship he was asked about starting up a dairy farm in the Eastern
He remembers arriving at the stretch of land outside in Alice with his wife and child in February 2007.
"There was nothing here," he says.
"It was bush."
He went to work on February 28 2007. He chopped out the bush, dug trenches, laid irrigation pipes, built
cattle enclosures, erected fences and learned to service tractors.
"I got to work straight away. My wife and daughter were with me. They helped too. I was given a few
implements to work with and I hired some labourers. But it was tough. I learnt as I went. You can't do this
job if you don't have a passion for farming."
When Mavhungu needed advice all he had to do was phone his mentor, who farms in the area.
"He has a deep knowledge of farming so his advice helps me a lot," Mavhungu says.
The hard work paid off and by October 2, 2007 Mavhungu was milking cows. Today the Fort Hare Dairy
Trust is a state-of-the-art commercial dairy farm.
It has an 800-cow rotary parlour that produces around 10 000 litres of milk a day. Much of that milk is
supplied to the Clover milk company.
The farm, which requires 600 tons of maize a year, sources much of its produce from farmers in the Alice
area. Every predicts that at its peak the dairy will produce double its current output.
He credits the success of the project to Mavhungu's passion for farming.
"Leonard made a remarkable entrance into full scale dairy farming," Every says.
"There is a very false but widely held belief that black people are not commercial farmers. Leonard
showed that this belief is just not on."
Each year Amadlelo takes on between 10 and 15 black interns. Some of those are sent to the Fort Hare
Dairy Trust. Like Mavhungu, the students are put through a rigorous hands-on farming course.
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The difference now is that Mavhungu is their mentor. If the students are successful in the internship, they
are posted to working farms in the Eastern Cape.
Abulele Mtambeka, 25, a student from the Nelson Mandela Bay University, says he has learned just about
everything about farming while on his internship at the Fort Hare Dairy Trust.
"We are taught everything to do with dairy farming, from driving tractors to milking cows, from installing
irrigation systems to growing pastures," he says.
"It's tough, but farming isn't easy."
Mtambeka, who is from the Nouga area outside of Port Elizabeth, recalls how a now-defunct irrigation
scheme in his area once used to provide ample food and work for the local population.
"It stopped functioning in 1994," he says.
"I saw what it did to the community. I would love to help get that project going again."
Lusanda Winnifred Jombile, 20, of Tshwane University, is another student working on the farm.
"Leonard pushes us hard," she says. "But that's what I want. Leonard drives and motivates us. It's good to
have him here."
The success of the Fort Hare Dairy Trust cuts a stark contrast to a government owned ostrich farm in
Hammanskraal in Pretoria, which earlier this year was found stripped of furniture, without running water
and with its livestock limping in their pens.
The government bought that farm in 2007 and rented it out to a group of small-scale farmers. By last
August the farm was deserted. For the first time the agriculture ministry applied a "use it or lose it" policy
and claimed back the land last month for use by new farmers.
Professor Ben Cousins, director of the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University
of the Western Cape, says a crucial element of land reform is to assist new owners to become productive
users of their land.
This is particularly important for poverty reduction and to allay fears that land reform will undermine
production for local or export markets.
"Post-settlement support involves credit, farming inputs, water for irrigation, marketing arrangements,
information and training," Cousins says.
"Training is crucial because of the loss of agricultural skills that took place in the apartheid era."
Cousins says it is vital that the government deals with land transformation in an effective way.
"Land carries a powerful political charge, as is the case in neighbouring Zimbabwe, which had a similar
history to South Africa's."
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Cousins says by 2008 a total of 5,8 million hectares or just 5% of commercial farmland had been
transferred to black people through a combination of restitution and redistribution. This is well short of
the target of 30% that the government wants to achieve by 2014.
"If land questions remain unresolved, the possibility clearly exists for populist politicians to focus
strongly on these issues in order to build a support base, leading to unrealistic policies that promise much
but fail to deliver real benefits," he says.
"This in turn could lead to discontent and unrest."
Every believes that projects such as the Fort Hare Dairy Trust will have to become commonplace if land
reform is to succeed.
One of the motivations Amadlelo uses for its interns is to reward farmers with cattle as they pass through
"Eventually Leonard will have enough cows to start his own full-scale dairy farm," Every says.
"It is a long process but there is guaranteed success. That is the nature of farming. It takes time to be a top
operator." – Sapa
2009 05 14 Zuma gets off on right foot with farmers
COMMERCIAL farmers have few reservations about supporting a Jacob Zumaadministration, partly
because of his efforts to reach out to them. He has addressed farmers’ meetings in Bothaville, the capital
of the mealie belt, and attended braais with singers such as Steve Hofmeyr.
It’s easy to dismiss Zuma’s wooing of white Afrikaners, and white farmers in particular, as part of a
disingenuous campaign to be all things to all people. But we should not underestimate how sidelined
progressive white farmers felt during the Thabo Mbeki era. Being treated like relics from a racist past
contributed to their exodus to countries such as Mozambique and Nigeria. By assuring them that their role
in putting cheap food on the tables of all South Africans was appreciated, Zuma has made them feel
important in the eyes of the African National Congress for the first time in years.
Several decisions Zuma has made since taking power suggest his interest in the sector is genuine. For a
start, he appointed the Freedom Front’s Pieter Mulder as deputy agriculture minister. He also kept on Jeff
Doidge as minister of public works. Doidge shelved a controversial expropriation bill last year, rightly
criticised for concentrating too much power in the executive and making it easier to compensate
landowners at below market value.
The ANC’s decision to split the agriculture and land reform ministries has been on organised agriculture’s
wish list for years too. The two function at cross-purposes. Commercial agriculture is in the business of
producing food as cheaply and efficiently as possible, whereas land reform seeks to reverse the effect of
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racist restrictions on property ownership by using public funds to redistribute farms from whites to
In theory, land reforms are supposed to unlock the latent economic power of a black peasantry —
suppressed under apartheid — by turning subsistence producers into commercial farmers, so there is some
justification for housing both under one roof. In reality, bungled implementation of the reforms, and their
prioritisation over support for agricultural research, has simply sapped SA’s ability to produce food
Now the rural development and land reform ministry can focus exclusively on these complex and
politically contested functions, under Gugile Nkwinti, while the agriculture, forestry and fisheries
ministry can devote its energies to supporting the science and economics of food and fibre production by
both black and white commercial producers.
Organised agriculture was elated when Zuma appointed Northern Cape agriculture MEC Tina Joemat-
Petterssen to head this new ministry. This was partly relief at seeing Lulu Xingwana being demoted to
arts and culture. Xingwana not only had very little grasp of the complexities of land reform or agriculture,
but also squandered her considerable energies on witch hunts against political enemies. She also excelled
at alienating just about everyone in the sector. Exploiting legitimate farm worker grievances including
assault, rape and unlawful evictions for political gain angered both the moderate farming majority and
land activists working quietly to improve conditions on farms.
Her parting shot, the “use it or lose it” campaign that saw state leases to black farmers revoked under
questionable circumstances, earned her the wrath of the emerging-farmer sector too.
By contrast, Joemat-Petterssen was liked and respected across the board in the Northern Cape for her
accessibility, quick intelligence and diligence. Her department was run without the misspending of funds,
corruption and mismanagement that dogged its counterparts. Most importantly, she displayed a sound
grasp that commercial farming is above all a business that must be managed properly.
Although she is scarcely soft on issues such as farm dweller rights, I have also seen her show little
patience for nongovernment organisations that prefer public posturing to finding solutions to some of the
sector’s most intractable problems, including evictions, minimum wages and worker abuse.
Like many others, farmers’ expectations of Zuma might be unreasonably high. But he has made a fine
start in their sector.
• Hofstatter is contributing editor.
2009 05 15 Faure emerging farmers face eviction
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Over 300 Faure farmers are facing the threat of eviction due to plans by the Western Cape Housing
Department to use the land they farm for a housing development.
The land, which is owned by the provincial government and situated in Faure between Khayelitsha and
Eerste River, has been occupied by some of the farmers for more than 10 years.
Following a successful application by the Western Cape Housing Department for an interdict to stop the
farmers from working the land with immediate effect, which was granted by the Cape High Court on
April 7, the farmers have written to Western Cape Premier Helen Zille pleading for her intervention to
stop the process that would see them evicted from the land.
Should they be evicted, they said in a May 7 letter, they would live without a source of income as most
The farmers were not trying to impede the housing department “however we must state that the right to
urban agriculture is as important as the right to housing. People in the cities cannot just be expected to
buy from the shops, they cannot afford it. People must be able to do something for themselves.”
The letter, written by the iThemba Farmers Association, which is representing the farmers, made clear the
farmers could not afford a lengthy court procedure but would not “give up without a fight”.
“We want to be convinced that this mixed development is concrete and that significant steps have been
taken to manifest it. We get the feeling that this development was suddenly spawned when the department
heard about people squatting illegally on what they then realized is their land.”
iThemba Farmers Association chairperson Craig Jonkers said: “All we can do is call on government to
change their minds and on the public to support our fight. We are poor and government is not giving us
jobs, so we try to help ourselves. Now they want to take everything away.”
Ricardo Jacobs, chairperson of the Surplus People Project, which is supporting the farmers, questioned
the suitability of the land for a mixed housing development, saying it was a flood-prone wetland and was
zoned as agricultural land.
“When will they learn that housing developments without proper consultation fail, like it failed in Delft,
Langa and Crossroads? Government has no excuse to attack the poor like this.”
Contacted this week for comment, the housing department said it had acquired the land for “integrated,
sustainable human settlement development”.
Housing Department head Shanaaz Majiet said the development would not only provide houses, but
would also cater for the various needs of the community by providing for social and economic facilities.
By applying for the interdict, Majiet said the housing department was protecting the department’s
property from being illegally sold and unlawfully occupied.
He said the department had met the farmers and explained their plans for the land.
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“Suitable available land for human settlement development in the City is becoming very scarce and the
department must ensure that it uses every portion of land optimally.”
However, the Department had undertaken to facilitate a meeting with the appropriate institutions who
would investigate available alternatives for the farmers.
Majiet said: “Although it would be preferable that the farmers vacate the land on a voluntary basis, the
department will consider the options available to it [evictions] with due consideration given to the
interests of the broader community.” — West Cape News
2009 05 22 Joint venture in land reform bears fruit
BATHED in sunlight on a crisp autumn morning, Welgemeen farm in the Ceres district in the Western
Cape is a shining example in the otherwise patchy track record of land reform in SA.
The export farm is partly owned by cousins Robert and Peter Graaff (20% each) with the majority share
(60%) owned by 210 people disadvantaged by SA’s colonial and apartheid history. The cousins are scions
of a well-known farming family that has tilled the land for three generations.
Land reform in SA has, for the most part, not been a success story.
Since the transition to democracy in 1994, some agricultural land has been given to black claimants,
either as restitution for a historical claim to land from which claimants or their forebears were evicted or
as government grants given to redistribution claimants.
But large tracts of such land have been mismanaged and lie fallow.
This is due to a number of factors, including lack of support by existing farmers and the government in
the form of training; lack of seeds and fertiliser; and new farmers becoming despondent and leaving the
land when they feel overwhelmed by the demands and costs of agriculture.
But Welgemeen is flourishing. “The new owners of Welgemeen are under the mentorship of successful
commercial farmers. Because they have shares in the farm and the necessary infrastructure, they are
determined to make a success of farming,” says Robert Graaff, AgriSA’s 2007 young farmer of the year.
Welgemeen lies adjacent to the Graaff cousins’ other farm, the commercial farm, Lushof. When
Welgemeen became available just more than three years ago, they jumped at the chance to buy it.
‘‘Some of the shareholders’ families have been with our family for decades. Welgemeen is one way of
giving something back to the community,” says Graaff.
Jacobus Mietas is one of the shareholders. He has been with Welgemeen for nearly four years, since the
start of the venture.
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Born in the nearby town of Ceres and having lived and worked in the surrounding Witzenberg area all his
life, he took the opportunity to become a joint landowner when the Welgemeen initiative came about. “I
thought it was a good idea for us to get ownership,” he says.
The model that was followed was to get a sufficiently large number of formerly disadvantaged members
of the community together who might be interested in becoming part of the venture.
Each of them was entitled to a government grant for acquiring land.
This sum was pooled, and with additional financing it amounted to 60% of the purchase sum. The Graaff
cousins put up the remaining 40%.
Further funding and other forms of support were accessed to build the farm. For instance, the Department
of Agriculture — through its agricultural support programme — helped the venture to acquire the new
equipment necessary for it to become a viable business.
Today, 130ha of the farm are planted with deciduous and citrus fruit orchards, including apricots,
peaches, nectarines and pears. They expect to harvest 3,5 tons of fruit this season, of which 70%- 90%
will be dried.
By far the largest portion of their harvest is exported — to Europe, the Middle East, North America and
the Far East. The remainder is sold to local retailer Woolworths and to the South African Dried Fruit
Board. Both of these are demanding clients that only take produce of high quality.
Graaff says Welgemeen is accredited by the giant UK-based international retail chain Tesco. “You have
to run the farm along commercial lines. Our main concern is sustainability,” he says.
Of the 210 black shareholders, 18 work on Welgemeen permanently. The rest either work on other farms
owned by the Graaffs or are employed elsewhere. All profits that have been made so far have been
ploughed back into Welgemeen.
“We made it clear from the beginning that we will not be paying dividends for a few years. You have to
fatten a cow before you can milk it. Everyone agreed,” says Graaff.
He says a high level of mutual trust between all the shareholders and workers is needed to win with a
venture like Welgemeen. “It’s a two-way street. We help each other. You have to be totally transparent.”
Welgemeen’s books are audited by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers . The business has four
board meetings a year, and an annual general shareholders’ meeting.
The Graaffs are members of the board, as are the other shareholders through the representatives of the two
trusts that they have formed.
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Broad policy decisions about the strategic direction of the business are taken at board meetings.
Graaff has an honours degree in agricultural science from the University of Stellenbosch.
The farm manager is Hubert Roux, who also has a tertiary agricultural qualification. “People here are
positive. Everyone cooperates for the common good,” he enthuses.
Mietas agrees: “We all have a stake in this.”
Aside from the shareholders, another 68 people are in full-time employment on the farm while a further
100 are contract workers. These work opportunities help to alleviate the huge burden of unemployment in
Sofia Muller, a fruit packer, says: ‘‘I support a family of five people. It is difficult to survive because
there are very few job opportunities in the area.” She receives about R150 a day during the packing
For Mietas, his stake in the farm means a more sustainable livelihood.
“Farming is in my blood. This farm is an investment in the future of my children.”
We made it clear from the beginning that we will not be paying dividends for a few years. You have to
fatten a cow before you can milk it.
2009 05 24 Landboubedryf: Nuwe minister het groot planne
EUGENE GUNNING Mosselbaai
Die landbou in die Wes-Kaap staan tans voor ’n belangrike koersverandering. Beter dienslewering aan die
breër landbougemeenskap, die beskerming van bestaande boere en makliker toegang tot die bedryf vir
nuwelinge is van die veranderinge wat mnr. Gerrit van Rensburg, die nuwe Wes-Kaapse minister van
landbou en landelike ontwikkeling, wil deurvoer.
Van Rensburg het dié naweek vir die eerste keer sedert sy aanstelling die Suid-Kaap besoek. Hy het in ’n
eksklusiewe onderhoud op sy plaas Fontein-Wes naby Mosselbaai aan Die Burger gesê die skip moet op
die regte koers kom. Dis nie ’n vingerwysing na sy voorganger nie, maar daar is dinge wat gaan verander.
Dienslewering aan die bedryf is baie belangrik, en daar kan byvoorbeeld nie toegelaat word dat kleiner
“insidente” die aandag aflei van die vernaamste take in die bedryf nie. Van Rensburg het begrip vir die
arbeidsituasie op plase en dit moet aandag kry deur die regte kanale.
Hy het egter bygevoeg: “Ek is nie die minister van arbeid en ’n arbeidsinspekteur nie”. Hy wil die
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Geleenthede moet vir alle belanghebbendes geskep word, en armoede moet verlig word deur volhoubare
ekonomiese groei in die landbou.
“Dit is nie ’n skande vir ’n boer om ’n wins te maak nie. ’n Boer wat wins maak, kan werk skep en
daardeur help om armoede te verlig. Boere moet winsgewend kan boer.”
As dit nie gebeur nie, kan die landboubedryf nie bestaan nie, en dit het weer gevolge vir voedselsekerheid
en die ekonomiese situasie in die landelike gebiede.
Van Rensburg het gesê kundiges moet na die provinsie gelok word en mense moenie ontuis voel in die
bedryf nie. Landboutegnologie en navorsing moet uitgebrei word. Hy is bekommerd dat dit op die
oomblik te min gebeur.
Van Rensburg gaan hom daarvoor beywer dat leerders op skoolvlak sensitief gemaak word vir die
landbou as loopbaan en dat hulle ná skool kan studeer met beurse van sy departement. Die ontwikkeling
van toegang vir boere tot sekere markte sal ook aandag kry.
Landelike ontwikkeling in die Wes-Kaap gaan voortaan ’n voorkeursaak wees.
Mnr. Gerrit van Rensburg, Wes-Kaapse minister van landbou en landelike ontwikkeling, het gesê dit is
die eerste keer dat ’n afdeling landelike ontwikkeling in die provinsie gevestig gaan word.
Dit word gekoppel aan die landbou, maar strek wyer en sluit aspekte soos die omgewing, onderwys en
maatskaplike welsyn in – daarom gaan dit oor ’n breër veld aandag kry. Grondhervorming is net een
aspek van landelike ontwikkeling.
Hy het gesê daar moet verseker word dat landelike gebiede nie ontvolk nie.
As dié gebiede ontvolk, kan dit ’n rimpeleffek hê en byvoorbeeld nadelige implikasies vir
voedselproduksie inhou. In van die gebiede is landbou die vernaamste fondament van die ekonomie.
In landelike gebiede is iets soos klimaatsverandering ook baie belangrik.
Dit kan in van die gebiede beteken dat sekere produkte oor ’n paar jaar nie meer verbou kan word nie, en
daar moet betyds na alternatiewe gekyk word.
’n Konferensie oor klimaatsverandering word op 17 en 18 Junie deur sy departement in Kaapstad
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Hy het gesê landelike ontwikkeling moet nie ten koste van stede plaasvind nie.
Hy beplan ’n loodsprojek vir later vanjaar waar landelike ontwikkeling sigbaar gaan plaasvind.
Dit sal in die vorm van ’n ekonomiese inspuiting in ’n spesifieke gebied wees, soos byvoorbeeld die
subsidiëring van die opleiding van werkers.
2009 05 26 Minister raises hopes for land reform
STEPHEN HOFSTATTER email@example.com
RURAL Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti is in a race to meet the ruling party’s
deadline of distributing more than 25-million hectares, at least 30% of farmland, to blacks.
Former ministers of agriculture and land affairs have transferred less than 6-million hectares — a mere
24% of the target — in the past 15 years.
In his first 100 days in office Nkwinti is expected to set in motion a distribution plan that will make
progress on the intractable land issue.
By 1999 at least 30% of farmland owned by whites at the end of apartheid, or just over 25- million
hectares, was to have been redistributed to blacks.
The date was later changed to 2014.
Land analysts say Nkwinti’s less confrontational approach as land and agriculture MEC in the Eastern
Cape is likely to prove more productive.
“He’s stable, level-headed and a good listener,” says Aggrey Mahanjana, who heads an influential black
stock-owners association with a large membership in the Eastern Cape.
Nkwinti’s relationship with his director-general, Thozi Gwanya, who brought down his department’s
vacancy rate from 27% to 16,5% in the past year, could prove fruitful too. Both hail from the Eastern
Cape, where Gwanya headed the provincial land claims commission before moving to Pretoria, and have
Gwanya told a meeting of managers in March that his department would focus its land reform efforts on
supporting smallholder family farming.
“Investing in the productivity of micro family farms will be a bulwark against food insecurity and
dependency, paving the way to self-sufficiency for millions.”
Organised agriculture has welcomed the division of the ministries.
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“Previously, agriculture was viewed a social function,” said Johannes Moller, president of farmers’ union
AgriSA. “This will bring the focus back to agriculture’s core function, namely competitive and
sustainable production of food and fibre.”
The union expects Nkwinti to be less combative than former minister Lulu Xingwana on issues such as
expropriation, in line with a softer stance toward commercial farmers displayed by President Jacob Zuma
. Xingwana had threatened to force farmers to sell to the government if negotiations deadlocked for
longer than six months.
This year, judgment is expected in a legal challenge against the Communal Land Rights Act (Clara),
which seeks to convert millions of hectares of land in former homelands to freehold title. Clara is
expected to unlock economic potential, but activists say the law is an unworkable political compromise
with unelected traditional leaders and puts too much power in their hands.
The restitution process, which allowed victims of apartheid forced removals to lay claim to their ancestral
land, also faces several serious difficulties.
The Land Claims Commission recently admitted large numbers of farms under land claim would be
delisted after it found more properties were gazetted than had been claimed.
Organised agriculture says thousands of farms will qualify for delisting, which could spark rural conflict
and pose a major administrative difficulty.
“Success will depend on revamping the department and filling many vacancies,” said Theo de Jager, who
heads AgriSA’s land reform desk.
The Legal Resources Centre (LRC), an advocacy group, says the commission must also fix colossal errors
made in the claim verification process if it wants to settle thousands of outstanding rural claims without
further unrest and economic collapse.
By confusing community and individual claims, the commission has encouraged thousands of
descendants of forced removals victims who no longer have a direct interest in the case to demand their
share of a scarce land resource, says the LRC’s Kobus Pienaar.
“This is causing massive conflict. Nkwinti will have to stop the bus and get the commission to redo the
Sparks are also likely to fly when policy debates on restrictions on foreign land ownership and revisions
to the government’s willing buyer, willing seller policy are revived.
AgriSA is already warning it plans to haul the government before the Southern African Development
Tribunal to challenge below-market-value offers for farms under claim unless agreement is reached soon.
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2009 05 23 ANC: Zille's land conspiracy just more hot air
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille's land conspiracy is misleading and just more hot air, the African
National Congress (ANC) said on Saturday.
"Premier Zille is being deliberately misleading again," said former premier Lynne Brown in a statement.
"Zille said [on Friday] that provincial land was transferred to the Housing Development Agency
"secretly", in bad faith and with an ulterior motive.
"Where do 'bad faith' and 'ulterior motive' enter the equation ... Would she rather use the land for purposes
other than housing the poor? Does she plan to sell it to private developers?" Brown asked.
The former, ANC-run Western Cape administration approved the transfer of more than 1 000ha of prime
provincial housing land to national government the day before the April 22 elections.
Zille told media on Friday that the land, worth about R500-million and large enough to accommodate
nearly 100 000 houses, was transferred free of charge and without informing the public or the City of
"How can she claim the deal was secret when it was raised in Parliament in the past two budget votes of
the national minister of housing, and was the subject of press statements and articles in local and national
media over a period of more than a year?" Brown asked.
Former Western Cape housing minister Whitey Jacobs said: "We have never made any secret of the N2
Gateway Project. The land transfers are a matter of public record, and due and proper process was
"Zille's bluster masks a more fundamental issue. The Democratic Alliance does not want low-cost
housing developed in such a manner that it breaks down racially exclusive suburbs. They don't want to
see integrated communities in which previously disadvantaged people have access to opportunities and
Zille said that most of the land fell within the Cape Town Metro.
She handed out copies of an agreement to transfer the land from the province to the national Housing
Development Agency, dated April 22 this year, and signed off by then Western Cape transport and public
works minister, Kholeka Mqulwana.
According to an attached annexure, among the properties is the 18,8ha Oude Molen property, as well as
land in other parts of the Cape Town Metro, including Erven in Constantia, Parow, Plumstead, Southfield
and Philippi. It also lists land in other parts of the province.
Zille said her new provincial administration would seek legal advice to try to stop the transfer.
"It represents a massive loss of assets to the province and appears to have been designed to undermine the
new administration's capacity to deliver on housing and other projects in partnership with the City of
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"The new cabinet of this province has resolved this morning to take steps to reverse this move if
possible," Zille said. -- Sapa
2009 05 23 SA govt’s rural development project kick starts in Limpopo
The South African government has identified three villages outside Giyani, in Limpopo to be used as a
pilot for its rural development project. The initiative aims to bring social and economical improvement to
Speaking during his visit at the Muyexe Village - one of the areas that will be included in the project,
Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said poverty has been identified as one of
the major challenges.
President Jacob Zuma's first 100 days in office will be dominated by government's response to the local
impact of the global meltdown and restoring public confidence in the criminal justice system.
However, rural development is also a key policy. Poverty in South Africa is at its severest in rural areas.
Zuma has placed emphasis on the development of these areas.
2009 05 26 Deals may rob Africans of land, resources
AFRICAN countries whose farmland is being bought by foreign investors, particularly from China and
Saudi Arabia, must defend local people’s rights to avoid eviction, while investors should beware of being
tainted as human rights abusers. International agencies’ first detailed report on the trend, published
yesterday, estimated that nearly 2,5- million hectares of farmland in five sub- Saharan African countries
has been bought or leased since 2004 — an investment of 919,98m.
“Lands that only a short time ago seemed of little outside interest are now being sought by international
investors to the tune of hundreds of thousands of hectares,” said the agencies, calling the huge deals
reported so far “the tip of the iceberg”.
The report was co-authored by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation , both based in Rome, and the London-based
International Institute for Environment and Development .
Fears about food security and rising returns in agriculture mean the trend will continue, bringing benefits
in terms of infrastructure and jobs, the agencies said, but also meaning risks for recipient countries, local
people and investors.
The report focuses on large-scale deals of more than 1000ha in Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali and
Sudan, as well as case studies carried out in Mozambique and Tanzania, while warning that data on land
deals is “scarce and of limited reliability”. Figures from Zimbabwe were not recorded.
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The authors shy away from the term “land grab”, used by the media to denote the trend towards large-
scale farmland purchases by China and oil-rich nations such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar in poor countries,
which often struggle to feed themselves.
IFAD said the deals could “bring benefits for all parties and be a tool for development” if done the right
“Africa has been crying out for investment for decades, so let’s not shoot ourselves in the foot now,” said
Harold Liversage, a land rights expert for IFAD with about 20 years’ experience in Africa and elsewhere.
“Let’s make sure that Africans, particularly small-scale producers and poor rural women and men, are
going to benefit from this,” said Liversage.
The report says farmland purchases are being driven by food security concerns, rising demand and
changing dietary habits, expanded biofuel production and interest in what is, on paper at least, an
improved investment climate in some African countries.
For recipient nations, on a macro level the investment can boost gross domestic product and government
tax revenue, while rural areas can see improvements in their livelihood, said the report. But “large-scale
land acquisition may result in local people losing access to the resources on which they depend for their
food security — particularly as some key recipient countries are themselves faced with food security
challenges”. It recommended that recipient governments set minimum requirements for such investments
in terms of job creation and community benefits as well as the environmental impact on soil and water
and the risk of pests from monocultural production.
They should discourage speculative deals and use collective land registration to bolster rights that are
often customary to “help local people avoid being arbitrarily dispossessed of their land, and obtain better
deals from incoming investors”. While pointing out that “land grabbers” were by no means only foreign,
the agencies had advice for investors who risked their money in purchases or long leases in countries
where land rights were unclear and corruption may be rife.
“Investors can be seen as dealing with or propping up corrupt regimes and human rights violators. They
may also be perceived as land grabbers in food-insecure countries.”
A separate report released yesterday shows that more Africans than ever want democracy — though
violent, rigged elections and failure to translate freedom into better lives have left a bad impression
Only 45% of African citizens support democracy, up from 40% in 2005.
Afrobarometer, which has done such surveys every three years since 1999, questioned more than 25000
people in 19 countries for the latest survey.
The poll was run by the Institute for Democracy in SA, the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development
and Benin’s Institute for Empirical Research in Political Economy, with support from Michigan State
University at Lansing in the US.
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Afrobarometer found the demand for democracy — and democracy itself — advancing in various
countries, including Botswana, Cape Verde and Ghana, and democracy declining and at risk in Kenya,
Madagascar, Nigeria and Senegal.
In Botswana, which has had uninterrupted democracy since independence from Britain in 1966, 91% of
respondents considered their country a full democracy or one having only minor problems — the survey’s
most favourable rating. Reuters, Sapa-AP
2009 05 27 Court overturns minister’s land grab
STEPHAN HOFSTATTER firstname.lastname@example.org
THE North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria yesterday ordered the government to restore land to a black
farmer evicted last month under its controversial “use it or lose it” policy.
The case was brought by land- reform beneficiary Veronica Moos against Arts and Culture Minister Lulu
Xingwana, who launched the policy with histrionic fanfare while land and agriculture minister.
Moos initially sought a punitive costs order against Xingwana in her personal capacity for her active role
in the eviction, but this was later dropped.
Yesterday, the new Department of Land Reform and Rural Development, which has been split from
agriculture, was given notice that it had 12 hours to restore the 21ha farm near Bapsfontein in eastern
Gauteng to Moos.
Several government sources told Business Day that beneficiaries close to Xingwana had already been
allocated the farm.
Moos said the new beneficiaries made several attempts this month to occupy the farm on orders from the
department, violating an interim agreement that the property would remain vacant pending the outcome of
“This is a great relief, but it’s only the first step to getting my farm productive again,” Moos said.
“I still have no money for production inputs. I’m not in a position to secure funding elsewhere because I
have no lease or title deeds,” she said.
The judgment could expose the department to further legal action from evicted land-reform beneficiaries
deemed unproductive. It also highlights structural faults in the state’s Proactive Land Acquisition
Strategy, in which the government buys farms aggressively on the open market and leases them to
beneficiaries. Leases can be terminated if farms are underutilised.
Designed to speed up land delivery, the strategy has accelerated the failure rate as new farmers cannot
obtain credit from commercial banks, co-operatives, or food processing companies because they lack
secure title. So they remain dependent on government support.
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At least five evictions had already taken place under Xingwana’s policy, and several more were planned,
the department said.
Lawyers for Human Rights, which is handling Moos’s case, is considering a court challenge against the
strategy because, they say, it is open to arbitrary abuse by officials.
Spokesman Eddie Mohoebi said yesterday the department would have to study the judgment before
commenting in detail.
All evictions had followed due process, and Moos had received adequate state support, he said.
This is contradicted by court documents showing Moos tried on several occasions to get the department to
honour promises of support and to supply her with a valid lease.
Xingwana accused Moos of neglecting her farm and subletting it to white neighbour Jan Merneweck.
Moos countered that she had received a fraction of the support promised, and was forced to deplete her
pension savings to keep the farm going. She had asked Merneweck to share her homestead after
burglaries left her afraid to live there alone.
Xingwana shocked the land-reform sector in March by announcing that unproductive beneficiaries on
state land would lose their farms. Agricultural unions and land activists denounced this as a pre- election
ploy aimed at diverting attention from her department’s bungles. http://www.businessday.co.za
2009 05 30 Maak ’n einde aan die konflik en chaos van grondhervorming
Die wêreld se rykste lande sorg vir hul boere. Selfs met ’n oorvloed kos kry Amerikaanse boere steeds
Ander reëls geld in Afrika, soos die ekonomiese ineenstorting in Zimbabwe getoon het nadat die land se
kommersiële boere van hul plase af verdryf is.
In Suid-Afrika word kommer?siële landbou nie op dieselfde meedoënlose wyse verwoes nie, maar in die
laaste jare van die Mbeki-bewind het ons gevaarlik naby aan geïnstitusionaliseerde grondontneming
gekom. Wetgewing is reeds aanvaar wat die staat magtig om plase te onteien.
Boonop het die vyandigheid van sowel amptenare as die destydse ministers van landbou – Thoko Didiza
en Lulu Xingwana – bygedra tot ’n eksodus van boere uit die bedryf. In 1994 het die land 57 000
landbouers gehad, vandag is minder as 39 000 oor. Boere is so gedemoraliseer dat talle beter geleenthede
elders in Afrika soek.
Verlede jaar het Suid-Afrika vir die eerste keer sedert sulke statistieke gehou word ’n netto invoerder van
96 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Hierdie krisis kom ’n lang pad.
Die blanke vestiging tydens die Groot Trek na die noorde is grootliks die rede vir die ongelyke verdeling
van grond. Die verwringing is verder bevestig deur rasgedrewe wetgewing onder apartheid. Voorsiening
is reeds tydens die voor-demokratiese onderhandelinge gemaak om dié situasie reg te stel.
Daar was twee voorwaardes om die ordening van die proses en ’n finale afhandeling te verseker: Die
ontneming moes ná 1913 gebeur het (toe die Wet op Naturelle Grondbesit in werking getree het), en eise
vir die herstel van grondregte moes voor Desember 1998 ingedien word.
Boere is per definisie pragmaties. Selfs konserwatiewe boere het noord van die land se grense gekyk en
besef samewerking met die ANC-regering is al uitweg.
Dié pragmatisme het in 2002 beslag gevind in ’n formele ooreenkoms tussen AgriSA en die departement
van landbou. Die Strategiese Plan vir die Landbou het die raamwerk voorsien vir samewerking oor sake
soos gelyke toegang tot en deelname aan die landbou.
Dit het alles baie eenvoudig gelyk. In die praktyk het die proses egter gou in ’n burokratiese nagmerrie
ontaard. Soveel instellings was betrokke by hervorming – wat boonop met landbou verwar is – en die
onbekwaamheid van amptenare was so erg dat konflik en chaos onafwendbaar was.
Die Land Bank het byvoorbeeld flink lenings op kommersiële plase aan voornemende swart boere
toegestaan op grond van ooreenkomste met die departement van landbou wat met die vestiging sou help.
Ongekende hartseer het gevolg toe die departement se geld opraak en plase op groot skaal teruggeneem
Kommersiële plase is sonder rugsteun aan gemeenskappe gegee. Oral in die land het die geskeurde
plastiek van tonnels waarin groente verbou moes word nutteloos in die wind gewapper terwyl die “boere”
hulself onderling tot stilstand baklei het.
Die Land Bank het miljoene rande verloor aan lenings wat onrealisties toegestaan is.
’n Totale onderskatting van die mate van professionaliteit onderliggend aan moderne boerdery is een rede
vir die fiasko. Bemarking is vandag die belangrikste aspek van ’n suksesvolle boerdery. Maar die
departement van landbou het volgehou met die mantra dat plaasarbeiders gesofistikeerde boerderye moet
oorneem omdat hulle “die mense met die kennis” is.
Grootskaalse ineenstortings van eens suksesvolle plase het gevolg. Vandag kan suksesvolle
hervestigingsplase kwalik op die vingers van ’n eelterige boerehand getel word.
Die meeste van die provinsiale grondeisekommissarisse – net soos hul destydse hoof, Tozi Gwanya – was
voormalige grondaktiviste. Pleks van die georganiseerde proses te bestuur, het omtrent almal – met die
gerief van ’n staatsdienssalaris – hul aktivistiese agendas voortgesit. Geheime vergaderings is met
regeringsgeld gehou om nuwe planne – strydig met die letter en gees van die strategiese plan – te smee.
Kommersiële boere is as die “vyand” beskou. In die agenda van een van dié vergaderings, wat na die
media uitgelek het, word deurgaans na produktiewe boere as die “landed gentry” verwys!
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Die afsnydatum van 1913 is geïgnoreer en sogenaamde “historiese eise” is as geldig aanvaar. So is daar in
Broederstroom ’n eis erken en aanvaar op plase waar die heel eerste Voortrekkers – die familie van
Andries Pretorius, eerste president van die Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek – hulle reeds in 1845 met kaart
en transport gevestig het.
Boere wat aangebied het om as mentors vir beginnerboere op te tree, is geïgnoreer of beledig. Enkele wit
boere wat as ANC-simpatiseerders gesien is, het wel reusagtige kontrakte gekry om met
hervestigingsplase te help, maar selfs dié pogings het in trane geëindig omdat die omvang van die werk te
veel was en die regering nie ooreenkomste nagekom het nie.
Tot onlangs was daar boonop nog geen duidelikheid of die doel bloot is om aan die “grondhonger” van
eisers te voldoen nie en of die voortsetting van suksesvolle kommersiële boerderye hoegenaamd ’n
Terwyl amptenare van die departement handel en nywerheid by die Wêreldhandelsorganisasie (WHO)
onderhandel vir ’n bedeling wat ons boere teen die obsene plaassubsidies van ontwikkelde lande beskerm,
het bykans alle binnelandse beskerming vir boere verval. Sodra ’n grondeis in die Staatskoerant
gepubliseer is, raak dit bykans onmoontlik om ’n boerdery uit te brei. Toestemming is van die
kommissaris nodig vir alle verbeteringe – en die kommissarisse is berug vir hul gebrekkige
kommunikasie. Konflik is die onafwendbare gevolg.
Hoewel 95% van alle grondeise reeds afgehandel is, beslaan die oorblywende 5% die grootste deel van
die grondoppervlak wat nog geëis word.
Volgens dr. Theo de Jager, adjunk-president van AgriSA het die staat nog net sowat 10% van die plase
wat reeds in die Staatskoe rant gelys is gekoop – en daar is honderde eise wat nog gelys moet word! Met
grondeise wat in 2002 reeds gelys is, was daar nog geen vordering nie, en in landbougedrewe dorpe soos
Levubu, Tzaneen, Hoedspruit, Hazyview en Utrecht begin die plaaslike ekonomieë kwyn.
Maar toe die proses van staatskant sloer, is boere summier in die beskuldigdebank geplaas.
Amptenare wat geen idee van die vrye mark het nie, kon nie verstaan waarom plaaspryse – net soos
huispryse – so vinnig styg nie. Boere is daarvan beskuldig dat hulle pryse kunsmatig opstoot om
hervorming in die wiele te ry.
Gevolglik word eensydige aanbiedinge ver onder die markwaarde nou vir plase gedoen. Boere wat nie
gehoor wil gee nie, word met onteiening gedreig.
Dit is dan Mbeki se nalatenskap. Daar is egter positiewe tekens dat die situasie onder pres. Jacob Zuma se
bewind gaan verander. Die opsigtelikste is Zuma se besluit om die departemente van landbou en
grondsake te skei – en om die Vryheidsfront se dr. Pieter Mulder as adjunk-minister van landbou aan te
Restitusie, die herstel van apartheidsvergrype, het niks met landbou uit te waai nie. Dit lyk ten minste of
die regering besef dat kommersiële landbou en grondhervorming op verskillende vlakke hanteer moet
98 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
En vir die eerste keer in die huidige politieke bedeling het boere in Mulder iemand wat in die binnekringe
van die regering hul belange kan verteenwoordig.
Daarby het Blessing Mpehla, die nuwe grondeisekommissaris, vroeër dié maand aangekondig dat talle
grondeise deur die land teruggetrek gaan word. Baie van dié eise is sonder meer deur provinsiale
kommissarisse aanvaar, soms sonder bewyse en op grond van vae beskrywings.
Dié onrealistiese eise, het Mpehla gesê, knou boerdery oor die algemeen. Dit klink alles belowend. Maar
soos baie dinge rakende Zuma is dit nog nie duidelik in watter mate die nuwe geluide net simbolies is en
of dit in die praktyk beslag gaan vind nie.
2009 05 31 Motshekga calls for rural development to be prioritised
The African National Congress’ Chief Whip in the national legislature and a member of the National
Executive Committee, Professor Mathole Motshekga has called for rural development issues to be
The Chief Whip also reminded all ANC deployees to re-dedicate their efforts to the party and the people
they serve. Mathole was addressing the opening of the Limpopo ANC two-day Lekgotla in Bela Bela. He
urged ANC deployees to report progress they made at various spheres of government and communities at
ANC offices. He says leadership on all levels has the responsibility to ensure that all mandates are
exclusively reserved for ANC work and that no diary should take precedence over the ANC work.
Security has been tight in and around the Aventura resort in Bela-Bela, Limpopo, where the Lekgotla is
taking place. ANC provincial Secretary Joe Maswanganyi earlier said the media will only be allowed to
attend the opening session which will be addressed by party chairperson Cassel Mathale.
Meanwhile, political analysts have said the Lekgotla will assist the provincial government administration
to formulate policies on how to tackle party priorities. Analysts have also hailed Limpopo for being the
first province to immediately hold the party Lekgotla, only a few weeks after the new national
government came into power.
2009 06 AGRICULTURE: Foreigners Lead Global Land Rush
By Stephen Leahy*
Acacia savannah in Zanzibar, Tanzania
IPS news (Inter Press Service)
99 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, USA, May 5 (Tierramérica) - More than 20 million hectares of farmland in
Africa and Latin America are now in the hands of foreign governments and companies, a sign of a global
"land grab" that got a boost from last year's food crisis.
Rich countries that are short on land or water at home are looking to secure food-producing lands
elsewhere as a way to ensure food security for their populations, said Joachim von Braun, director of the
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
"There is a major lack of transparency in these land deals," von Braun said in a telephone press
conference from Washington.
The IFPRI study, "'Land Grabbing' by Foreign Investors in Developing Countries," by von Braun and
Ruth Meinzen-Dick, which was presented last week, estimates that 15 to 20 million hectares have been
acquired or are in the process of being sold.
Von Braun pointed out that this is equivalent to about 25 percent of all the farmland in Europe.
Because hard data is difficult to come by - the study was based primarily on information from press
reports - IFPRI conservatively estimates that the deals represent 20 to 30 billion dollars being invested by
China, South Korea, India and the Gulf States, mainly in Africa.
"About one-quarter of these investments are for biofuel plantations," von Braun said.
China started leasing land for food production in Cuba and Mexico 10 years ago and has extensive
holdings in Africa, including pending or attempted deals for millions of hectares in the Democratic
Republic of Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Tanzania, with many thousands of Chinese workers
brought in to work on these lands, according to the report.
The largest foreign ownership or control of African farmland is in Sudan - in this case a group of Gulf
States, including Saudi Arabia. Last year, the United Arab Emirates negotiated several farmland deals
with Pakistan. Qatar has agricultural land in Indonesia, the Philippines, Bahrain, Kuwait and Burma.
The huge Korean company Daewoo Logistics Corporation signed a deal to lease 1.3 million hectares in
Madagascar to grow maize and oil palm, which reportedly played a role in the political conflicts that led
to the overthrow of the government in 2009, the report noted.
"The number of land deals is much higher than the IFPRI numbers. No one is monitoring all the private
land deals," says Devlin Kuyek, a researcher at GRAIN, a Barcelona-based non-governmental
organisation dedicated to global agricultural issues.
GRAIN published its own "Land Grab" report six months ago, concluding that rich countries are buying
poor countries' soil fertility, water and sun to ship food and fuel back home, in a kind of neo-colonial
Kuyek told Tierramérica that this 21st-century land rush is driven in part by countries that no longer want
to be held hostage by the big, multinational food trading companies.
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But increasingly the private capital is coming from pension funds, which are staking their bets on
farmland as the next profitable commodity to invest in after the collapse of the global stocks and financial
sector and continuing weak prices for oil and metals.
"A huge chunk of the Australian cattle industry is now owned by a private equity firm. The two biggest
pork producers in China are owned by Goldman Sachs (a private investment firm)," Kuyek said.
As a result, he noted, ranchers and farmers have turned into employees.
But it could be far worse than that for hundreds of millions of small landholders, pastoralists and
indigenous people who do not hold formal land titles, because they are at risk of being driven off their
land, he said.
Most of African farmland is under local customary land holding, without formal land title, acknowledges
IFPRI researcher Meinzen-Dick.
"When outsiders come they don't recognise those customary land rights. Such rights must be respected,"
she told Tierramérica.
IFPRI is calling on the international community to develop a code of conduct that would uphold local
peoples' rights to their land, guarantee transparency, share benefits, foment environmentally sustainable
production and ensure local food security.
Von Braun sees great potential in such land deals because they bring badly needed capital to the
agricultural sectors of poor countries, contributing to infrastructure and research. "China is creating
several research stations in Africa to boost yields in rice and grain," he said.
Kuyek disagrees: "These investments are not about agricultural development. This is all about making
money and shipping food back to home markets."
Food processing companies and even food retailers are involved in this because they are anxious to ensure
"security of supply" as efficiently as possible, says Janice Jiggins, of the International Institute for the
Environment and Development, in London. One of the world's biggest banks, the Netherlands' Rabobank,
is one of the main financiers for these kinds of deals, Jiggins told Tierramérica via e-mail.
The 2009 report from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Food Sovereignty, Olivier de Scutter,
detailed the legal implications of the farmland deals, warning that they completely override existing
rights, enshrined in laws, constitutions, and customs, Jiggins wrote.
(*This story was originally published by Latin American newspapers that are part of the Tierramérica
network. Tierramérica is a specialised news service produced by IPS with the backing of the United
Nations Development Programme, United Nations Environment Programme and the World Bank.)
2009 06 01 San face land invasion in Namibia
BRIGITTE WEIDLICH | UITKOMST, NAMIBIA
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Soft chanting from young children floated past weathered tents on red Kalahari soil as a wrinkled old man
sat on a cracked plastic chair.
Basking in the afternoon sun, he gazed across the grass plain dotted with knotty camelthorn trees at the
first farm bought by Namibia to resettle the ancient but marginalised San Bushman people.
"This farm is the place we call home since one year," Kleinbooi Katuwe said.
"Winter is on us again and nights are cold in the tents. Hopefully the brick houses the government
constructs for us will be completed soon," he added, pointing at the two rows of half-built houses a
hundred metres away.
Katuwe is the oldest in a group of about 300 San resettled on the Uitkomst commercial farm, 240km
north-east of the capital Windhoek, which the Namibian government bought under its land reform
Many are laid-off farm workers who had nowhere to go so brought their families to illegally occupy the
premises of a defunct municipal swimming pool in the sleepy town of Okahandja, north of Windhoek.
"We had no choice," said Paul Chapman. His indigenous name is a complicated flow of click sounds
which the South African apartheid officials who once ruled this country could neither pronounce nor
write, so he ended up with a western name, like many San.
"The municipality looked the other way, so the word spread and other homeless San joined us,"said
Chapman, the group's leader on Uitkomst farm. "We attracted media attention and eventually became a
'problem' for the government. A year ago, we were brought here. Now we have a home."
What they don't have are jobs. Aside from a few working as farmhands on nearby estates, most of the San
at Uitkomst depend on government food rations, waiting for promises of agricultural training to be met.
Uitkomst was the first of three farms given to the San, who were the first occupants of Southern Africa
more than 10 000 years ago.
About 30 000 San remain in Namibia, with the Juhoansi and Haikom the largest groups.
'I hope I can die in peace'
Their numbers dived from the start of the last century when colonial power Germany allowed growing
numbers of white settlers to shoot Bushmen and encroach on their traditional hunting grounds.
South Africa took over the territory's administration in 1915 during the World War I until Namibia's
independence in 1990, which followed a protracted liberation struggle.
Now the San face illegal occupation of their ancestral land by other ethnic groups close to the Botswana
About 300km east of Uitkomst, 32 Herero-speaking cattle herders cut a veterinary disease control fence
and illegally moved 2 000 cattle for grazing over the past two weeks into a protected wildlife area, the
Nyae Nyae Conservancy, home to about 2 600 Juhoansi.
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The conservancy is managed by the resident San, who derive about one million Namibia dollars ($120
000) annually through safari tourism, sustainable trophy hunting and collecting medicinal plants like the
devil's claw for export.
"All 32 invaders were arrested," but are out on bail awaiting trial, said Zeka Alberto, a human rights
lawyer representing the San of the conservancy.
"We cannot allow people to take the law into their own hands and just take land," Alberto added.
While police are patrolling the remote area to prevent further invasions, a high-level government team is
also looking for a solution, worried that livestock could spread diseases to the game.
"Government views the invasion in a very serious light, while it is also in violation of various laws," the
information ministry said in a statement.
"The government is committed to the well-being of farmers in rural areas, but also urges them to respect
the law and act in the best economic interest of the country."
Namibia started its land reform in 1995, aiming by 2020 to acquire 15-million hectares of farmland, the
vast majority owned by whites, for redistribution to about 240 000 landless people, including San.
Five white-owned farms have been expropriated to date, and Katuwe said he hopes his people's
resettlement marks the end of their wanderings.
"I hope I can die in peace on this resettlement farm when my time has come," Katuwe said. "I am tired of
moving around and being chased away by others." - AFP
2009 06 01 Second pre-election land transfer revealed in W Cape
Details of a second large transfer of prime residential land to national government by the Western Cape's
former African National Congress-led administration were revealed by the province's new housing
minister, Bonginkosi Madikizela, on Monday.
"In terms of the deal, 391,7ha of land owned by the provincial department of local government and
housing are to be transferred to the Housing Development Agency [HDA]," he told a media briefing in
Like the first deal, this too had taken place just before the April 22 elections. The agreement was signed
on April 20 and finalised on May 4, the second-last day it was legally possible for the outgoing
administration to sign off such documents.
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"This was done to frustrate us, as the new administration, so we don't deliver services," Madikizela told
Ten days ago, details of the transfer of more than 1 000ha of provincial housing land to national
government by the previous administration were revealed by new Western Cape Premier Helen Zille.
"This land, worth about half-a-billion rand, and large enough to accommodate nearly 100 000 houses, was
transferred free of charge ... without informing the public or the City of Cape," she said at the time.
The latest land deal involves six parcels of land -- totalling 391,7ha -- in both the Cape Town metropole
and near Stellenbosch.
Five of the land parcels are located east of the R300 and north of the N2 national road. A sixth comprises
11 erven in Grassy Park and Zeekoevlei.
Madikizela on Monday said the latest land agreement was "highly unusual" because it involved a deed of
"Usually an LAA [land availability agreement] allows the department to retain ownership, while giving
another agency permission to develop the land. This LAA ... provides for a full transfer of the land to the
A term of the agreement was the HDA had five years to decide whether to develop the land for housing.
"In other words, the province has no say over whether this land can be developed to achieve our own
The agreement had also bypassed the province's legal services department.
"The inference must be made that the outgoing administration was not confident about the legality of the
Madikizela said the province was seeking legal opinion on the two lots of land transfers. He was also set
to meet HDA head Taffy Adler on Tuesday, to "ascertain what the HDA intends to do with the land".
He said both of the land deals that had come to light were "cynical attempts too stymie the incoming
administration". -- Sapa
2009 06 01 Bloem land price blows up
ADRIAAN BASSON | JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
Free State Premier Ace Magashule has been dragged into a dirty fight over the sale of prime land to a
Bloemfontein businessman who claims he is being punished for refusing to act corruptly.
But Magashule and his confidants have hit back, accusing Tebogo Koetle of Ya Rona Investments of
being an opportunist who is avoiding purchasing the land at "market price".
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The Mail & Guardian is in possession of a sworn affidavit signed by Koetle last year in which he accuses
the Free State legislature's deputy secretary, Bernard Phitsane, of soliciting bribes in 2007 on behalf of
Magashule, Thabo Manyoni, former Mangaung city manager and now Free State police minister and
ANC provincial secretary Sibongile Besani. At the time Magashule was ANC chair and the party's chief
whip in the legislature. The four men have vehemently denied Koetle's claims.
Koetle's company acquired the rights to develop 90 hectares of the farm Bloemfontein through a
resolution of the Bloemfontein transitional local council in 1999. The land is situated close to the N1
freeway, adjacent to Sun International's Windmill Casino which opened its doors in 2005.
In 1999 the council resolved that the land be sold at R7 000 per hectare (R630 000 in total) and that "if
the land is not taken up within 12 months from date of allocation, the selling price be revised". Koetle
didn't take up the offer until 2006, when he heard the Mangaung local municipality was negotiating the
sale of the land to another entity. In November 2006 his Ya Rona Investments applied to the Free State
High Court for an interdict preventing Mangaung from selling the land to a third party.
According to Koetle, this was when the shenanigans began. During a March 2007 meeting between
Magashule, Phitsane, Koetle and his lawyer it was "resolved" that the matter should be settled out of
court. Magashule admits that it was his suggestion. "I attended the meeting in my capacity as the
provincial chairperson of the ANC and I was approached by both parties to facilitate an amicable
solution. It is not uncommon for me to intervene in matters of governance, since the ANC is the ruling
party in government and has to obviously provide leadership and strategic guidance on all matters of
policy, especially those aimed at empowering our people," the Free State premier said this week.
According to Magashule it was "obvious" that the dispute was not about the claim of Ya Rona to the land,
but rather about the purchase price. The parties reached a settlement agreement in March 2007 that the
land would be transferred to Ya Rona after a selling price had been established. Shortly thereafter, Koetle
alleges, Phitsane came to him at the municipal office, asking for a cut of the deal.
In April 2007 Koetle, his lawyer and Phitsane attended a meeting at the Bloemfontein Southern Sun
where Phitsane allegedly asked for a 10% stake in the development to be registered in the name of
Lebona La Rona Project Services, a company belonging to his wife.
At a subsequent meeting at Manyoni's office, Koetle alleges, Phitsane told him 10% was not enough and
Magashule, Manyoni and Besani (who was executive director of economic development and planning at
the time) also had to receive a share of the development.
"I remember well, he [Phitsane] said: 'Tebogo, we have assisted you. We would like to be part of the
development.' Phitsane and I were talking while Manyoni sat at his desk."
Phitsane and Manyoni this week denied that such a discussion ever took place. Phitsane, who is registered
as Magashule's business partner in the closed corporation Dinaka Trading 5, admits, however, that he had
a discussion with Koetle about being rewarded for his "contacts and information", which had assisted Ya
Rona in reaching an out of court settlement.
But, he says, talks about him receiving a 5% stake in the development were initiated by Koetle. "I didn't
ask for shares."
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Koetle states under oath he was told during these discussion that the land would be sold to him for R1.26-
million and that the municipality would be "politically instructed" to provide infrastructure. After he
refused to hand out shares in his planned development, the price of the land was pushed up to an
Manyoni rejects this assertion, saying that two independent valuators valued the land at R43-million.
Koetle disagrees, saying this valuation was done after the construction of Windmill Casino and not
according to 1999 conditions.
Ya Rona did, however, accept the R43-million offer "under duress" and obtained bank guarantees from
Investec in October last year. "But they still refused to transfer the land to us."
Due to the current financial crisis Koetle is no longer in a position to pay the full amount at once. He
recently tried to renegotiate the terms of the transaction with the municipality, but was shot down by
Manyoni, who insisted he pay the agreed R43-million for the land.
2009 06 01 Minister’s ‘land-grab cronyism’
STEPHAN HOFSTATTER email@example.com
Xingwana has denied impropriety, insisting she played no role in eviction and land-allocation decisions
by her officials while she was minister of land and agriculture.
Xingwana launched the group, Women in Agriculture and Rural Development (Ward), soon after taking
over the portfolio in 2006.
She has been a vocal champion of Ward ever since, frequently sharing the same podium with its
Ward’s declared aims are to increase land ownership by black women, following the Brazilian model of
redistributed farms owned and run by families and co-operatives.
In two recent high-profile cases, in which black farmers deemed unproductive were evicted under
Xingwana’s “use it or lose it” policy, their farms were allocated to Ward members.
They include Della Masilela, chairwoman of Ward’s Gauteng branch, whom Xingwana allegedly praised
publicly as her “protégé”.
Masilela confirmed she and five Ward members were allocated Yzervarkfontein farm near Bapsfontein
last month after Xingwana publicly evicted emerging farmer Veronica Moos for underutilising her farm.
Moos launched an urgent court application to be restored to her farm, arguing she had been unable to
achieve full production because she lacked post-settlement support and could not access production credit
without secure tenure.
Moos had been allocated the farm under the government’s Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (Plas),
which was introduced to speed up land reform.
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Under Plas, the government buys farms aggressively on the open market, and leases them to beneficiaries.
Leases can be terminated if the land is underutilised.
But the strategy has accelerated the failure rate, as new farmers cannot obtain production credit as they
lack secure title, remaining dependent on state support.
Court documents show Moos tried on several occasions to get the department to honour promises of
support and supply her with a valid lease.
She initially sought a punitive costs order against Xingwana because of Xingwana’s active role in the
eviction, although this was later dropped. Last week, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ordered
the new Department of Land Reform and Rural Development, which has been split from agriculture, to
return the 21ha goat and chicken farm to Moos.
Moos claimed Masilela was a close associate of Xingwana, and had made several attempts this month to
occupy the farm on orders from the department.
This was in violation of an interim agreement that the property would remain vacant pending the outcome
of the case. “I went to a farmers’ day in 2008, and the minister (Xingwana) got up to introduce Della and
said: ‘This is my protégé’,” she said.
“It’s very strange that the same person is allocated my farm,” Moos said.
Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), which represented Moos, said it was preparing an application to
declare the Plas policy unlawful because it was open to arbitrary abuse by officials.
LHR said in a statement that it found Xingwana’s actions “extremely distressing”, concurring with the
judge’s comment that her handling of the case was “sinister” and “high-handed”.
LHR lawyer Louise du Plessis said that allocating Moos’s farm to Ward also raised questions about
“How can the minister (Xingwana) suddenly say she is allocating the farm to Ward members without any
indication that they went through the proper channels?” said Du Plessis.
“It’s an abuse of power.”
Masilela rejected the suggestion that Xingwana could have influenced her department’s decision to grant
her group the farm.
“It’s the officials, not the minister, who did the allocation,” she said.
But similar allegations of cronyism were made by another farmer evicted under Xingwana’s “use it or
lose it” policy.
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Themba Masemola said that he was evicted from an ostrich farm near Pretoria a month after a visit by
“I was on the farm trying to make it productive, but she wanted me out to get her associates to occupy it,”
The current occupant, who would identify herself only as Nosipo, confirmed that she was a member of
Ward, but denied Xingwana influenced the decision to transfer the farm to her co-operative.
“The minister does not allocate farms,” she said.
Xingwana denied she played any role in farm evictions or allocations.
“These are operational matters, and I am never involved,” she told Business Day.
“I have no personal relationship with Della Masilela, we never had personal meetings, and I never
praised her as my protégé. Officials follow their procedures, and allocate farms according to these,”
2009 06 03 Xingwana had success
The article sees and presents successes by the former minister for agriculture and land affairs, Lulu
Xingwana, as acts of impropriety, immorality and even of possible criminality.
Through semantic engineering, convenient amnesia and structured silences on crucial facts around the
establishment of both women and youth structures in agriculture and rural development, as well as the
“use it or lose it” principle and its application, the article puts forward opinions masquerading as
The article refers to the Women in Agriculture and Rural Development (Ward) as “a women’s group with
which she (Xingwana) is closely associated with” as a precursor to creating impropriety undertones. The
article does not mention the media briefing Xingwana held in September 2006 , at which she reflected on
the vision she had for land and agrarian reform. Spelling out the key reform goals she had set for herself
to deliver , the fourth of these was “to ensure effective participation of women and youths in land and
agrarian reform and maximum beneficiation of these two marginalised groupings from land and agrarian
In line with this vision, Xingwana provided strategic direction for the establishment of Ward and the
Youth in Agriculture and Rural Development (Yard) group as mass-based movements for women and
young people to become more involved in agriculture.
This should be seen as one of the Xingwana’s accomplishments.
108 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Interestingly, the article also does not indicate that Ward structures were created in virtually all the
provinces and that chairmen were appointed by the provinces themselves without the involvement of
Xingwana . Nor does the article indicate that most South African Development Community countries
were so impressed with the Ward and Yard structures that most were studying them for replication in
It must also be stated clearly that the “use it or lose it” principle is one of the key conditions in the
allocation of grants for land redistribution. It aims to encourage the maximum use of the land so that
redistributed land is used productively .
Eddie Mohoebi Spokesman: Department of Rural Development and Land Reform
2009 06 03 Zuma shows vision - Agri SA
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address on Wednesday was to the point and
testament to his "clear vision" for South Africa in Africa, said Agri SA.
"Striking was the absence of political rhetoric and conspicuous, a clear awareness of the problems the
world economy and South Africa are contending with," the organisation's president Johannes Moller said
in a statement.
The agriculture sector was assuredly not apathetic towards poverty, unemployment and the recession
Zuma focused on in his address to Parliament, Moller said.
"We want to build further on agriculture's good record in this regard, particularly that of the recent past,"
the Agri SA leader said.
With rural areas essentially the domain of agriculture, Moller found Zuma's focus on rural development
and the development and improvement of infrastructure of particular interest.
He also confirmed that the renewed focus on the prevention of crime would receive the "biggest possible
support" of organised agriculture.
In its statement, Agri SA said it took note of the emphasis Zuma placed on international relations, African
development, co-operation in the Southern African Development Community and the economic problems
Moller said Agri SA was presently analysing and obtaining a mandate from its members on its possible
role in this respect.
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2009 06 04 Govt seeks land reform plan
Cape Town - The recession is forcing the government to find a cheaper alternative to the "willing buyer,
willing seller" system of land reform, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said
"We will investigate less costly models," he told Parliament in the debate on President Jacob Zuma's State
of the Nation address.
Nkwinti said it did not seem possible that the state could come up with the estimated R71bn needed over
the next five years to buy land for redistribution.
He said government would start a dialogue with "those who control land resources" to look for an
affordable way of expediting land reform.
Nkwinti conceded that "internal, institutional factors" were partly to blame for long delays in processing
2009 06 04 Ander modelle vir grondverdeling bekyk
Kaapstad. - Die beleid van “gewillige koper, gewillige verkoper” is onder die loep in die regering se
strewe om grondhervorming vinniger af te handel.
Mnr. Gugile Nkwinti, minister van landelike ontwikkeling en grondhervorming, het gesê R71 miljard
word nog vir grondhervorming benodig. Dit behels dat altesaam 30% “wit” landbougrond uiteindelik aan
voorheen benadeeldes herverdeel moet word.
“Miskien is dit ietwat te sterk om te sê ons hersien die beleid van gewillige koper, gewillige verkoper,”
het Nkwinti in die debat oor die staatsrede gesê, “maar ons is beslis besig om ten nouste daarna te kyk”.
Ander “meer bekostigbare modelle” vir grondverdeling moet ondersoek word.
Die minister het gesê dit is veral nou belangrik, “siende dat dit dalk nie moontlik gaan wees om in die
huidige ekonomiese situasie R71 miljard vir grondhervorming (uit die staatskas) te kry nie”.
Uiteindelik moet die oplossings tot voordeel strek van almal wat deur die proses geraak word.
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Nkwinti het ook onder meer gesê daar sal voortgegaan word met die benadering dat grond teruggevat
word van begunstigdes wat dit nie gebruik nie.
Sy voorganger, me. Lulu Xingwana, was in die spervuur nadat ’n hof beslis het haar departement het ’n
plaas onregmatig teruggevat.
2009 06 05 Minister calls for a new look at land reform
STEPHAN HOFSTATTER firstname.lastname@example.org
In a briefing document circulated to members of the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on rural
development and land reform, Nkwinti called for a review of all the major land reform products
implemented in the past decade.
The 1997 white paper on land reform, on which the products are based, states that land reform must
reverse racially skewed ownership patterns inherited from apartheid that prevented black South Africans
from using natural resources to accumulate wealth.
But 15 years into democracy, most privately owned land remains in white hands and poverty is high in
the former homelands.
Nkwinti’s briefing document calls for the drafting of a new white paper that will focus on turning land
reforms into a catalyst for rural economic development. This may require drafting new enabling
legislation, the document says.
Policy makers will take a fresh look at the proactive land acquisition strategy under which the state buys
land and leases it to beneficiaries; at land redistribution for agricultural development, which allows black
farmers to access government grants to buy farms; and at post-settlement support models and the
controversial “use it or lose it” principle.
The document also commits the government to review outstanding rural land claims where confusion
exists between individual and community claimants.
“This is excellent news,” said Kobus Pienaar of the Legal Resources Centre, a public-interest law group
which has handled several high profile restitution cases. “It is the much-needed sane approach the
government has failed to take for many years.”
The state’s failure to define future land rights before handing farms over has also frequently come under
fire. “The government just says: here’s your land, sort it out yourselves,” says Landless People’s
Movement leader Mangaliso Kubheka. “If we don’t sort this mess out it’s going to cause conflict and
infighting for a long time.”
The paper also proposes an audit of privately owned agricultural land, and whether it can be bought at
below market value. The constitution allows the state to expropriate farms for land reform, and to subtract
apartheid subsidies from the price paid, but this has never been implemented.
The paper says a rural development agency will be established to co-ordinate efforts by different
departments, state entities and financial institutions, and to play a monitoring and evaluation role.
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2009 06 08 Department still trying to evict land beneficiary
STEPHAN HOFSTATTER email@example.com
THE Department of Rural Development and Land Reform is still trying to evict land reform beneficiary
Veronica Moos from her farm in eastern Gauteng, despite being ordered by the North Gauteng High
Court last month to restore her to the property.
Spokesman Eddie Mohoebi on Thursday said the department was applying for a court order to evict Moos
because she was in breach of its controversial “use it or lose it” policy.
“The case was expected to be heard today, but I understand it has been postponed to next week,” he said.
“She will then get the opportunity to file opposing papers.”
The court previously found the department had treated Moos unfairly by failing to follow correct
procedures, but without ruling on the merits of her eviction, said Mohoebi.
“There are clear conditions for leasing state properties, including not being an absentee landlord, not sub-
leasing the property and using it productively,” he said. “She is still in breach of these conditions.”
He said the move could open the department to protracted litigation.
Court papers show Moos tried on several occasions to get the department to honour post-settlement
support promises and supply her with a valid lease. She had been allocated the farm under the
government’s Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (Plas), which was introduced to speed up land reform.
Under Plas the government buys farms aggressively on the open market and leases them to beneficiaries.
Leases can be terminated if the land is underutilised.
But the strategy has accelerated the failure rate as new farmers cannot obtain production credit because
they lack secure title, remaining dependent on state support.
Lawyers for Human Rights, which handled her case, said it was preparing an application to declare Plas
unlawful, arguing it was open to abuse by officials. Lawyers for Human Rights has previously said it
found former minister Lulu Xingwana’s actions “extremely distressing”, concurring with the judge’s
comment that her handling of the case was “sinister” and “high-handed”.
Moos last week said she had not been informed of the decision to evict her and was going ahead with
plans to make the farm productive.
“I don’t know why they’re doing this. I am in discussions with (farmers’ union) AgriGauteng to be
appointed a mentor and we are looking at securing production credit from an agricultural co-op,” she said.
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2009 06 09 Minister: Land prices going up
Cape Town - The economic recession is not affecting the price of agricultural land, which is escalating,
MPs heard on Tuesday.
Coupled with budgetary constraints, this posed a serious challenge to both land reform and restitution
programmes, rural development and land reform director general Thozi Gwanya told a joint meeting of
Parliament's agriculture and rural development and land reform portfolio committees.
"We have settled about 95% of the 79 696 land claims that were lodged, enabling restoration of at least
2.3 million hectares to the people who were victims of land dispossessions.
"This has not been without challenges, one of which has been budgetary constraints. We need about
R15bn to settle the outstanding 4 200 land claims, and we have got escalating land prices," he said.
Less than half the amount needed
The figure of R15bn is less than half the amount the Land Claims Commission says is still needed.
At a media briefing in February this year, following a meeting of regional land commissioners, then
acting chief land claims commissioner Andrew Mphela said the state had approved restitution awards of
R17.6bn to date.
He told journalists at the time that restitution and land claims would cost "at least R52bn by the time the
process is finished".
Gwanya told members on Tuesday that escalating prices were a problem.
"Some people have been saying the recession might lead to a drop in land prices, especially for housing,
but it doesn't look like it is having any affect on the prices of farms.
"This is particularly when it is known the land is bought for government. Once the farmers know the land
is bought by government, they tend to demand more."
Willing seller, willing buyer system
Commenting on the willing buyer, willing seller principle, Gwanya said this was under discussion.
"We have got a discussion document around that, where we would like to review."
Turning to land reform, he said the "aggressive implementation" of this was one of his department's
"We have redistributed five million hectares of [our] target, which is 24.6 million hectares, which makes
30% of agricultural land by 2014.
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"Clearly, this has been very slow progress and there have been challenges, which the department is
A briefing document tabled at the meeting alludes to rising land prices as the most serious of these
"If the department is to meet the 30% target by 2014, it would have to deliver more than three million
hectares of land per annum.
"In this regard, the most serious challenge being faced by the department is the ever-increasing land
prices and inadequate budget for land requisition," it states.
2009 06 10 Minister approves R3,5bn injection for Land Bank
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has approved R3,5-billion for the recapitalisation of the Land Bank, the
bank said on Wednesday.
"This means that government undertakes to meet the obligations of the Land Bank to the amount of R3,5-
billion, as and when they become due and payable should the bank's liabilities exceed its assets," it said in
"The letter of undertaking [the guarantee] will proportionally decrease as cash injections are made by
government to the Land Bank."
The Land Bank said the guarantee would terminate once R3,5-billion in cash injections had been made to
it by government.
This was subject to stringent conditions that included the Land Bank maintaining a capital adequacy ratio
of at least 20%.
The Land Bank also had to provide the Treasury with quarterly reports on progress on the turnaround
strategy and on loan recoveries, demonstrating sound management of the loan book.
Furthermore, performance updates had to be supplied on the Land Bank's development indicators
contained in the bank's development policy.
"The capital injection follows the acknowledgement in the budget speech by the previous minister of
finance Trevor Manuel of the progress made by Land Bank management, and his consequent commitment
that the government would assist the Bank."
The Land Bank said the capital injection was approved after its interactions and discussions with Gordhan
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"The bank is steadily emerging from a period of instability that adversely affected the sustainability of
many of its operations.
"In recent years, the bank was unable to implement its development mandate as articulated in the Land
Bank Act and struggled to create a balance between implementing its mandate, and financial stability."
The Land Bank said the challenges it faced had also affected its financial performance.
"In response to the challenges, the Land Bank submitted a turnaround strategy that was approved by the
"The new strategy represents a deliberate attempt to redirect the bank to meet its mandate," it said.
A thorough revision of the Land Bank's corporate plan was undertaken to align the bank's operations to
the new strategy.
The Land Bank's chief executive officer Phakamani Hadebe said the engagement with Treasury leading to
the capital injection had been demanding.
"We worked hard to meet the stringent requirements set.
"As taxing as these interactions were, they made us realise the enormity of the challenges ahead, and we
are thankful to the national Treasury for keeping us on our toes." -- Sapa
2009 06 10 Small farmers ‘need help with global markets’
SMALL farmers could be part of the solution to global food security provided the right investments,
policies and development programmes were in place, Kanayo Nwanze, president of the International
Fund for Agricultural Development, said yesterday.
Nwanze was speaking in Johannesburg during a discussion about agriculture in Africa and the global
He said the recent price volatility on international markets caused by the economic crisis was putting
pressure on global food security.
The recent food security crisis was caused by the growing perception that agriculture was unprofitable,
Nwanze said. “Agriculture is a business and you do not need to own thousands of hectares to be
successful in the business.
“Investment in agriculture is a sure way of economic growth, a backbone for any country’s economic
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He said the International Fund for Agricultural Development would urge the international community to
be faithful to its pledge to help small farmers, while African states should create enabling environments
for the private sector to invest in agricultural activities. He also said there was a need to link small farmers
with the global market.
Nwanze said it was easy to talk about land reform policies, but without capacity and access to financial
support, it would be difficult for small farmers to succeed in the business. “You must teach beneficiaries
how to farm and link them with the markets.”
People who had benefited from land reform projects should have access to financial support so that they
could become active members in the agricultural business, he said.
In most of the world, small farmers were unable to respond to an increased demand for food because they
lacked access to assets and capital, and they faced higher transaction costs, which made it difficult to
adapt and respond quickly to market development, Nwanze said.
“Supporting small farmers will not only enhance world food security, but will make a significant dent in
“When people cannot make a living on the land, they are often forced to leave it,” he said.
2009 06 11 Gordhan approves R3,5bn Land Bank lifeline
FINANCE Minister Pravin Gordhan had approved a R3,5bn guarantee to recapitalise the Land Bank, the
bank said yesterday.
The funds would be disbursed over the next three years, with R3,2bn earmarked for development projects,
spokesman Musa Mchunu said.
The move signals the Treasury’s confidence in the bank’s turnaround plan and its ability to deliver on its
legislated mandate as an agricultural development lender.
The guarantee would decrease proportionately as cash injections were made, and was subject to several
stringent conditions, the bank said. These include a minimum capital adequacy ratio of 20%, providing
the Treasury with quarterly progress reports on its turnaround strategy and loan recoveries, and
demonstrating sound management of its loan book.
The bank was making “good progress” with large outstanding loans, said Mchunu. These included
R640m lent to KwaZulu-Natal sugar baron Patrick Sokhela and more than R300m lent to property
developers in violation of its mandate, he said.
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Some of these land development loans are under investigation by police for fraud.
Asked why the bank deserved a huge bail-out funded by taxpayers given its history of corruption and
financial mismanagement, Mchunu said monthly reports to the Treasury had demonstrated how the lender
had cleaned up its act since CEO Phakamani Hadebe was seconded from the Treasury to head it last year.
The bank had streamlined risk assessment and loan recovery processes, beefed up internal controls,
including in recruitment, staff performance, and IT systems, and drafted a sound development policy.
It would spend R400m on development projects this financial year alone, said Mchunu. These must meet
criteria such as job creation, serving as a catalyst for depressed rural economies, and black empowerment
in agriculture and agri-processing.
“White farmers who promote these objectives will qualify too.”
The bank would also ensure post-disbursement support mechanisms were in place, he said. “Where the
bank lacks the capacity, this will be outsourced to co-operatives, other banks and agri-businesses.”
The bank said it was steadily emerging from a period of instability that had adversely affected the
sustainability of many of its operations.
2009 06 11 Eviction case may sow seeds of reform
THE decision by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to try to evict emerging farmer
Veronica Moos again is probably a blessing in disguise.
Moos herself, of course, is devastated. After winning a court order to be restored to her farm, she set
about securing production credit with the backing of the Gauteng branch of farmers’ union AgriSA, and is
being assigned a mentor to provide her with technical and marketing guidance. To be told she’s still in
breach of the department’s controversial “use it or lose it” policy and faces fresh eviction proceedings
therefore came as a nasty shock.
The department’s decision has, however, prompted Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) to prepare a case
on behalf of Moos against the government’s Proactive Land Acquisition (Plas) policy.
Plas, under which Moos was awarded her farm, was the government’s response to widespread complaints
that the pace of land reform was too slow because officials sat back and waited for land grant applications
to trickle in rather than redistributing land themselves.
There is nothing intrinsically wrong with Plas or the “use it or lose it” principle. Under Plas, officials are
supposed to sit around the table with municipal officers, estate agents and representatives of farmers’
unions and landless workers, tenants or squatters. The idea is to identify land available on the open
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market and establish local land needs. The government then buys farms and leases them to suitable
beneficiaries, who can apply for grants to become outright owners. It sensibly reserves the right to cancel
leases of unproductive emerging farmers, or those who sublet the properties to others rather than getting
down themselves to the hard work of farming.
But several flaws immediately became apparent. For a start, because it helped show on paper that land
redistribution was speeding up, Plas gave officials the incentive to go on farm-buying sprees before
actually identifying beneficiaries. Second , by giving emerging farmers short leases of three years, the
department made it difficult for them to gain access to production credit, effectively leaving them
dependent on handouts and support from notoriously inefficient provincial land and agriculture
In some ways it is a red herring to insist farmers will only get bank loans if they have full title to their
properties, as former director-general of land affairs Glen Thomas has remarked. Thomas, who was a key
architect and promoter of Plas, rightly points out that many commercial farmers prefer leasing land as it
reduces their risk exposure. They have no trouble getting credit to make it productive.
But this obscures the fact that lending to emerging farmers, as with any start-up entrepreneurs, is risky.
Banks don’t like doing it at the best of times, let alone when presented with a three-year lease.
The conditions attached to support are also onerous. Rentals, set at 5% of the land value, are hopelessly
too high. A poultry farmer I met is being charged R250000 a year for her farm bought for R5m as a going
concern. Her business plan was premised on high demand and prices for poultry products. With the
economic downturn, prices and demand have dropped and she’s going under because she can’t afford her
Plas also obliges the government to provide beneficiaries with grants for basic farm infrastructure. To
access these, they must supply three quotes for any job, then remain at the mercy of officials to appoint
service providers to carry it out. Quotes typically lapse by the time subcontractors are eventually
appointed, which means the whole laborious process must start from scratch.
Hopefully, the LHR case against Plas will result in sorely needed reforms to Plas. Farmers must be given
leases that last at least 10 years, charged a nominal rental during the start-up phase of their businesses,
and get to appoint their own contractors. Officials, on the other hand, must be incentivised to provide
support and fired if they don’t.
Unfortunately, these reforms will come too late for Moos, who has sunk her life savings into her farm and
now risks losing everything because the department wants to save face rather than confront its own
- Hofstatter is contributing editor.
2009 06 13 Grondhervorming en landelike ontwikkeling gaan hand aan hand
Reg op repliek: Ruth Hall
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In ’n onlangse artikel in Rapport Weekliks verwelkom Chris Louw die feit dat die departemente van
landbou en grondsake in Zuma se kabinet geskei is.
Hy argumenteer dat “restitusie (en) die herstel van apartheidsvergrype niks met landbou uit te waai het
nie” en verwelkom die feit dat die regering uiteindelik besef “dat kommersiële landbou en
grondhervorming op verskillende vlakke hanteer moet word”.
Hy laat lesers glo dat armoede in landelike gebiede opgelos kan word sonder om enige welvaart te
her?verdeel en – so lees ’n mens tussen die reëls – dat die hele program van grondhervorming laat vaar
Los die welvaart van kommersiële landbou uit, sê hy klaarblyklik. En subsidieer ons. Waarop ek net kan
antwoord: Word wakker en ruik die koffie, Chris.
Zuma se toenadering tot Afrikaners en hierdie skeiding van grondsake en landbou is klaarblyklik die basis
van ’n nuwe optimisme onder baie mense wat, soos Louw, hoop dat dit uiteindelik sal lei tot spesiale
behandeling vir kommersiële boere in plaas van die herverdeling van grond en water op die platteland.
Hierdie mense beskou kommer-siële landbou en bestaansboerdery as twee verskillende goed en meen die
departement van landbou moet fokus op die kommersiële sy eerder as om die nuwe en arm boere op
herverdeelde grond by te staan.
Die grootste probleem met grondhervorming tot dusver is egter die ongelooflik swak ondersteuning wat
nuwe klein- en kontant-arm boere kry as hulle op nuwe grond gevestig word. Beteken dit dan nie juis dat
landbou en grondhervorming geïntegreer moet word en sentraal moet staan in ’n nuwe poging om
landelike gebiede te ontwikkel nie?
Deur landbou van landelike ontwikkeling en grondhervorming te skei neem die regering dus duidelik ’n
stap in die verkeerde rigting.
In sekere kringe word deesdae goedsmoeds aanvaar dat boere (of liewer wit kommersiële boere)
onderwaardeer en swartgesmeer word.
Dit is waar dat Suid-Afrika min doen om landbou te ondersteun. Maar ná dekades van reuse-subsidies (en
die afskryf van slegte Landbank-skuld op ’n reuse-skaal in die 1980’s en 1990’s) is dit ’n bietjie dik vir ’n
daalder om te verwag dat dié demokratiese regering sal voortgaan om ’n kwynende klas van meestal wit
boere te ondersteun.
Ja, staatsbeleggings is nodig in die landbou. Dit is immers ’n dinamiese sektor van die ekonomie, ’n
werkskepper, kosvoorsiener en bron van buitelandse valuta. Maar staatsondersteuning moet geskied op
die basis dat dit die hervorming van die bedryf in die hand werk – ’n bedryf wat nie, soos wat baie mense
glo, slegs bestaan uit ’n homogene groep individuele kommersiële boere nie.
Die tradisionele prentjie van die boer op sy plaas is vinnig aan die verdwyn.
In die plek daarvan het ons ’n landboubedryf wat oorheers word deur ’n klein aantal groot maatskappye
wat hulself reg deur die waardeketting laat geld: van die verskaffing van saad en ander grondstowwe, die
boerdery self tot die ver- vaardiging van die eindproduk en die verkoop daarvan.
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Die gevolg is ’n verwronge mark waar ’n klein aantal rolspelers die septer swaai. Geen wonder kospry-se
is so kwesbaar vir manipulasie nie.
En terwyl hierdie hoogs geïndus-trialiseerde boerderye hoë produksie van stapelgewasse verseker, is dit
teenstrydig met ander nasionale behoeftes, soos redelike voedselpryse, die uitbreiding van
werksgeleenthede en die verbreding van eienaarskap van grond en produksiemiddele.
Laat ons dus nie die kwessie van landboubeleid en landelike ontwikkeling gelykstel met die stadige en
swak bestuurde proses om grond?eise af te handel nie.
Louw is reg dat die grondhervormingsproses gelei het tot onnodige spanning tussen grondeienaars en
eisers. En ja, eisers se pogings om op hul nuwe plase te boer was teleurstellend, om die minste te sê – in
sommige gevalle selfs ramp?spoedig.
Dit is daarom verrassend dat Louw nie argumenteer vir beter landbou-ondersteuning vir nuwe boere nie.
Ten spyte daarvan dat 95% van grondeise nou as “afgehandel” beskou word, is hierdie eise meestal
individuele eise vir dorps- of stedelike grond waar klein kontant?uitbetalings gedoen is.
Geen sigbare transformasie het dus in ons stede plaasgevind nie en ’n wonderlike geleentheid om die
apartheidsgeografie van ons stede te verander, is verlore.
Gaan die restitusie in plattelandse gebiede dieselfde paadjie loop, of gaan dit werklike veranderinge in die
aard van grondbesit teweeg bring? En gaan die nuwe eienaars ondersteun word in hul boerdery?pogings?
Dis duidelik dat eisers nie bloot kan voortgaan om dieselfde soort boerderye op die grond te bedryf as die
vorige kommersiële eienaars nie. Pogings om hulle te dwing om dit te doen is die rede waarom soveel
projekte in die verlede misluk het.
Wat kan gedoen word? In plaas daarvan om die poging om grond en verwante bates aan die armes oor te
dra, te laat vaar, moet dit eerder versterk word.
Verbeter die bestuur van die proses en plaas grondhervorming in die sentrum van ’n nuwe benadering tot
landelike ontwikkeling waar herverdeling armes in staat stel om ’n aandeel in die ekonomie te hê, om te
produseer en te bemark, om te oorleef en rykdom te vergader.
* Ruth Hall is ’n senior navorser by die Instituut vir Armoede-, Grond- en Landboustudies (Plaas) aan die
Universiteit van Wes-Kaapland.
2009 06 16 Govt won't seize white farms, says minister
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa's new Agriculture Minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, said on Tuesday the continent's biggest
maize producer would not seize white farms to redistribute to black South Africans as this would harm its
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"With our willing-buyer, willing-seller policy there are times when the land becomes too expensive for
the state to purchase, and if we face a programme of expropriation, it would further destabilise the
economic industry of agriculture," she told an agribusiness conference in Cape Town.
After the fall of apartheid in 1994, the African National Congress set itself a target of handing 30% of all
agricultural land to the black majority by 2014.
But progress towards the target has been slow, and only about 4% of land has been acquired from private
owners amid funding problems that government officials say might hinder the government from meeting
Land reform is a sensitive issue in Africa's biggest economy, where critics say the programme has hurt
investment in the commercial farming sector and drastically reduced the land that is available for
Meanwhile, African countries may need to put in place a code of conduct to govern farmland purchases
on the continent by foreigners, the agribusiness conference heard on Monday.
In a bid to overcome reliance on food imports, countries in Asia and the Gulf have been at the forefront of
farmland purchases in the world's poorest continent, where millions survive on subsistence farming.
But these so-called "land grabs" have drawn sharp criticism from land activists -- who raised concerns of
exploitation -- as well as some international donor agencies, the African Union and the European Union.
Marilou Uy, sector director for the World Bank's Africa Financial and Private Sector Development
Department, said African states would need to set up rules to govern farmland purchases to protect
themselves from possible exploitation.
"It is quite apparent that the upsurge in interest, especially among foreign investors and large-scale
enterprises in land acquisition, might need a code of conduct," she said.
"This code of conduct might need to bring a clear understanding on a wide range of matters from land
policy, social development ... governance and transparency."
Idit Miller, vice-president and managing director of the European Marketing Research Center, said a code
of conduct would likely be the only way to ensure that the benefit from farmland deals was mutual for
both governments and investors.
"It starts with the governments and once they say 'these are the conditions tied to our land' then foreign
investors will have no choice but to pay attention," she told Reuters.
Lobby groups have urged more caution from governments selling farm land to foreigners, warning that
some of the deals could lead to social unrest.
The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), led by former United Nations chief Kofi Annan,
said last week governments needed to consult widely, especially with small farmers, before signing deals
that may increase poverty.
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International agencies report that since 2004, about $920-million has been spent to buy or lease nearly
2,5-million hectares of farmland in five sub-Saharan African countries. – Reuters
2009 06 17 Min: Keep land for S Africans
Cape Town - Significant changes are to be made to the willing buyer-willing seller model of land
restitution, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said on Wednesday.
Less costly models would be investigated, he told MPs in the National Assembly during debate on his
department's budget vote.
"The department has recognised that in order to move forward decisively with the land redistribution
programme, significant changes will have to be made to the willing buyer-willing seller model of land
"The department will have to investigate less costly, alternative methods of land acquisition by engaging
with all stakeholders in the sector."
Current model not working
Nkwinti said both landless people and the ANC, at its last convention, had noted the willing seller-willing
buyer model did not work. The department would now seek a different formula for land redistribution.
This was "one that will address the issue as part of our country's ongoing effort at national reconciliation",
Speaking in the debate, ANC MP Stone Sizani said the department would talk to farmers, landlords and
corporations that held land, "to try and find common ground".
4% of agricultural land redistributed
Only 4% of agricultural land had been redistributed to landless rural people in South Africa, against a
target of 30%.
"To redress [the] imbalances of the past, the government must have enabling laws that can allow the pace
and the price of land acquisition to be in the hands of the state, rather than in the hands of the seller," he
said, to heckling from opposition benches.
Nkwinti said it was imperative his department reviewed legislation relating to tenure on commercial
farms, as well as communal areas.
It would continue to provide legal help to the estimated 2.8 million people living without secure tenure on
commercial farms, he said.
Speaking later in the House, Nkwinti again stressed the willing buyer-willing seller model did not work.
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"It doesn't work because we don't have money, as government."
Govt to work with commercial farmers
Nkwinti promised that government will negotiate with “well-meaning” commercial farmers.
"We're going to react fast with the collective [sic] of farmers to resolve the problems, including AgriSA,"
he said to applause.
Nkwinti said that land access and ownership should be a question that was primary for all South Africans.
"It shouldn't be a situation where we can't get land because it's too expensive because it's owned by
Americans, by Germans, by other Europeans and people outside this country, and not Africans... It must
be prioritised for South Africans," he said.
The reason South Africa was importing food was because land had been changed, including into game
farms, the minister said.
"It is no longer producing food. It's rearing animals. That's what is happening. Golf courses? Who owns
these? Overseas people. These are not South Africans."
Nkwinti said South Africans could not be expected to wait much longer for land redress "before they
explode". - SAPA
2009 06 18 Ministers give shape to Zuma’s plans
GETTING STARTED: The Mafisa scheme has committed R545m to financial intermediaries to fund
emerging and new farmers.
CAPE TOWN — Government ministers moved yesterday to put flesh on the bones of President Jacob
Zuma ’s state of the nation promises of job creation and rural development as Parliament’s budget vote
season got under way in earnest.
Leading the way was Public Works Minister Geoff Doidge with details of the second phase of the
expanded public works programme (EPWP).
Zuma’s promise of 500000 work opportunities through the programme before year-end was greeted with
scepticism in many quarters .
At the same time, Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson moved to give details on rural
development and the alleviation of deep poverty in the areas away from SA’s cities. She will need to
drive a co-operative relationship with organised agriculture after the abrasive tenure of her predecessor,
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Both ministers were introducing their budget votes to extended public committees of the National
Assembly — the forums where Zuma promised that more detail would be provided.
Doidge, stressing that phase one of the EPWP had exceeded by 400000 its initial five-year target of 1-
million work opportunities, said the target of 4-million work opportunities under phase two of the
programme was “a conservative estimate”.
“The infrastructure sector of the p rogramme is again positioned to contribute more jobs, in excess of 2,3-
million, followed by the environment and culture sector at 1,1-million and the social and nongovernment
sectors together yielding more than 1,3- million jobs. We are certain these figures are achievable, given
what we have in our plans,” Doidge said.
He said that the key to the implementation of the programme was protocol agreements with clear targets
that would be concluded with each province and municipality “clarifying their contributions towards the
creation of the 4-million work opportunities”.
The Department of Public Works manages construction-related projects, small and large, and this
portfolio will be regarded as potential for EPWP “labour-intensive” projects.
This year alone the department has an allocation of R5,2bn for these projects.
“An amount of R1,2bn has been allocated for the department’s capital works programme, including the
undertaking of some of the well- known projects such as the Land Ports of Entry (R570m ), dolomite
rehabilitation projects (R149m ), Prestige (R230m ) and the Apex priority projects.
“In addition, the department is spending over R1bn in the next three years to provide special and major
capital projects on behalf of its client departments under the ambit of its inner city regeneration
programme and Project Management Branch,” Doidge said.
“Already a total of 111 EPWP potential projects with a combined value in excess of R3bn have been
identified in the current financial year, creating job opportunities for about 3800 beneficiaries.”
Joemat-Pettersson said Zuma had correctly noted that unemployment in rural areas was
“disproportionately high” and would now implement a “comprehensive rural development programme”.
This would involve agrarian transformation, rural development and land reform, driven by provincial
agriculture departments and rural municipalities.
She said that the Department of Agriculture’s Mafisa scheme, which is designed to get funding to
emerging farmers, had “committed a total of R545m to financial intermediaries for funding to emerging
and new farmers”.
2009 06 19 SA farmers’ union critices land reform plans
124 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Johannes Moller, president of farmers union AgriSA said the move to scrap the willing-buyer, willing-
seller model, under which the government negotiates with owners to buy land, would be unconstitutional
unless the system were replaced with a similar one.
Land reform is a racially sensitive issue in SA, troubled by the decline in agriculture in neighbouring
Zimbabwe where white farmers have often been forcibly evicted by President Robert Mugabe’s
If government really does go ahead and scrap the willing-buyer, willing-seller principle and not replace it
with a system based on market value, we will see it as an infringement on property rights and a violation
of the constitution,” Moller said.
Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti told parliament on Wednesday the
government would scrap the system, which had been criticised for being too expensive and too slow in
transferring land to blacks.
After the end of apartheid in 1994, the ruling African National Congress set itself a target of handing 30%
of all agricultural land to the black majority by 2014.
Progress has been slow and only about 4% of land has been acquired from private owners amid funding
problems that government officials say might prevent the government from meeting its goal.
“The department will have to investigate less costly alternative methods of land acquisition,by engaging
with all stakeholders within the sector,” Nkwinti said.
The government says it has bought agricultural land at an average cost of R4• 000($490,6) per hectare,
and it has accused some white landowners of trying to sabotage the land reform programme by asking
prices that are too high.
Critics say the programme has hurt investment in commercial farming and drastically reduced the land
available for commercial agriculture.
The government has in the past considered land seizures to speed up the process and tried to pass an
expropriation bill in parliament last year, that no longer appears to be an option.
“SA cannot afford losing investor confidence in agriculture, in property and in the country and economy
in general...we cannot afford it,” Moller said.
2009 06 19 Minister holds out olive branch to white commercial farmers
Tina Joemat- Pettersson acknowledges that SA will not reach its goal of transformation without the help
of organised agriculture
125 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Briefing the media yesterday in the wake of her budget vote on Wednesday, Joemat-Pettersson said that
without partnerships with organised agriculture, SA could achieve neither the target of moving from
being a net importer of food to being a net exporter, nor that of putting 30% of farmland into black hands
She said her department’s mandate was to turn SA into a net exporter of food and “we recognise that
without organised agriculture we cannot have a turnaround strategy for agriculture in this country”.
The minister also moved to reassure the agricultural sector that assistance would not be confined to
subsistence farmers and that commercial agriculture was vital to the department’s turnaround strategy.
The result was her acknowledgement that “we need to work with commercial agriculture”. She said there
was goodwill and that creative solutions for white farmers would be sought in the form of joint ventures
with black farmers.
“If 30% of agricultural land is to be in black hands, then there has to be an alternative for white farmers
because we do not seek to drive them from the land,” Joemat-Pettersson said.
While her predecessor, Lulu Xingwana, frequently earned the ire of organised agriculture, Joemat-
Pettersson said it was clear that not all farmers brutalised their farm workers and that not all farmers could
be found guilty on the basis of what some had done.
She said there were incidents of farm workers’ human rights being abused, and this would be dealt with
where it occurred. The government would be strict in enforcing the security of tenure of farm workers and
their conditions of employment.
Joemat-Pettersson said she intended to bring all the agricultural unions closer to one another and closer to
the government because there was too much distance between these parties.
The state was only one stakeholder in agriculture, and in the past the relationships between the traditional
unions of organised agriculture and the emerging farmers’ union had been overlooked. “They have to
move closer together,” she said.
2009 06 19 Africa buys into subsidising own farmers
Tired of seeing prices for their crops undercut by US and European producers who receive billions of
dollars in government subsidies each year, African governments appear to increasingly favour
implementing their own subsidies.
The message from state representatives from numerous African countries attending the AgriBusiness
Forum 2009 held in Somerset West which ran from Sunday to Wednesday this week, was that
126 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
international donor demands for ‘free markets’ no longer held sway in the face of a drive for an African
And they were being backed by international agricultural development NGOs, with even private
Agribusiness companies seemed to accept the logic.
Speaking during a press interview at the forum, which was attended by about 400 high-level international
government and private sector delegates, Uganda’s state minister for Agriculture, Bagire Henry, said:
“The US and Europe are saying ‘don’t subsidise’ and (yet) they (continue) subsidising (their own
farmers), why? The World Bank is saying ‘don’t subsidise’, we’re telling them ‘you go away, this is our
Henry said in a push to develop export crops and increase yields, farmers were being merged into co-
operative groups to create economies of scale and his ministry was also identifying farmers who engaged
best practice in the farming of export crops, providing technical input and subsidising their farming
Henry said Uganda had already started subsidising 30 000 farmers who headed up identified agricultural
nodes in Uganda’s parishes.
He said a further 30 000 farmers would receive subsidies this year and the numbers would increase until
there would soon be “a million farmers” receiving state subsidies.
He said Uganda was spending $70 million annually through the National Agriculture Advisory Services
in order organise small holder farmers and provide extension services.
The African statesmen may be emboldened by Malawi’s success over the last four years in substantially
increasing their maize yields through government subsidies to reduce farmers’ costs for fertilizers and
The UN Department of Public Information publication ‘African Renewal’ reported that within the first
season Malawi’s maize harvest more than doubled, to 2.7 mn tonnes.
“It rose again in 2007 to 3.4 mn tonnes - enough to feed the nation and sell 400,000 tonnes to the UN’s
World Food Programme (WFP) and hundreds of thousands of tonnes more to neighbouring countries,
generating $120 mn in sales. The formerly aid-dependent country even donated 10,000 tonnes of maize to
the WFP’s nutrition programme for people living with HIV/AIDS,” reported Michael Fleshman in the
President of the Kenyan-based Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Namanga Ngoni, said:
“Only in Africa is the word subsidy a sin.”
Ngoni said targeted subsidies could be used to reduce the costs of production for farmers having to
compete in world markets skewed by their European and US counterparts.
However, Director of the Rainman Landcare Foundation Raymond Auerbach said wholesale subsidies
were not the answer.
127 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Auerbach said subsidies were needed but should perhaps rather be targeted at farmers who engaged in
best practice models.
Another way to do it, he said, would be to penalise farmers who were using inefficient or polluting
agricultural practices, rather than handing out subsidies which would distort the market.
He said one ways to get around the demands of donors and the World Bank would be to simply find
another word for subsidies.
“If we can find another word for it perhaps the WTO would not have such a problem with it.” - West
2009 06 20 Om ’n boer te word, moet jy hard kan werk & jou verstand gebruik
Reg op repliek: Leonie Katzke
Ruth Hall argumenteer verlede week in Rapport Weekliks dat landbou, grondhervorming en landelike
ontwikkeling hand aan hand gaan en dat dit ’n fout was van die Zuma-regering om die departemente van
landbou en grondsake te skei.
Gewoonlik mompel ek net ontstoke by myself as ek sulke twak lees, maar hieroor kan ek as boer nie
Navorsers is tog veronderstel om redelik objektief van soveel kante moontlik na ’n gegewe situasie te
kyk, ’n hipotese te stel en navorsing te doen om die bevindinge bymekaar te bring.
Wat ek verlede week in Rapport gelees het, is egter niks meer nie as ’n klomp opinies (met genoeg
rassistiese ondertone) van iemand wat nie die Suid-Afrikaanse werklikhede wil raaksien nie.
Feit is daar is ’n wesenlike verskil tussen kommersiële landbou en grondhervorming. Landbou – die
verBOUing van grond ?– het met die produksie van voedsel te make en die ander met die voorsiening van
grond (om watter rede ook al). En ’n mens verlig nie armoede deur bloot dít van diegene wat het uit te
deel aan dié wat nie het nie.
Meer nog: Geen “herverdeling” van grond en water (so asof ons reeds te veel water het!) gaan enige mens
in ’n boer verander nie. Niks “maak” van jou ’n boer nie – net die manier waarop jy dít gebruik wat
tussen jou ore is en wat jy met jou twee hande vermag kan dit doen.
En nee, nie almal wat vandag boer het ’n plaas by oupa of pa gekry nie. Sommige van ons het in ’n baie
laat stadium eers – nadat ons vir 30 jaar in die staatsdiens vir peanuts gewerk het – ’n piepklein stukkie
grond gekoop en dit met ons verstand, baie planne en harde fisiese werk, met min geld en baie inisiatief in
’n lonende boerdery omskep.
Nou kom Hall, ’n landbounavorser by ’n universiteit, en vertel my dat dit wat ek op eie stoom op die been
gebring het sodat ek nie ’n las vir ander moet wees nie, summier verdeel moet word?
128 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Sy skryf verder van die “tradisionele prentjie van die boer op sy plaas” wat vinnig besig is om te verdwyn
omdat dit vervang word met ’n “landboubedryf wat oorheers word deur ’n klein aantal groot maatskappye
wat hulself regdeur die waardeketting laat geld: Van die verskaffing van saad en ander grondstowwe, die
boerdery self tot die vervaardiging van die eindproduk en die verkoop daarvan”.
So, wat is verkeerd daarmee? Dit is presies wat boerdery is en enigeen wat passievol daaroor is, sal dit
presies só doen! ’n Mens noem dit ontwikkeling: Een plan lei na die volgende en in hierdie bedryf moet
jy voortdurend planne maak om te leef en te oorleef.
Boere is besigheidsmense, ingestel op die verbetering van hul bedryf. Maar anders as wat Hall te kenne
gee, bepaal boere beslis nie voedselpryse nie. Die markte en besighede aan wie die produk gelewer word
doen dit. Net nog ’n voorbeeld van ’n ongetoetste stelling wat bewys dat sy niks van
landbouprodukbemarking of boerderybestuur weet nie.
“Beter landbou-ondersteuning vir nuwe boere” is ’n rein gedagte, maar onthou dat jy ’n perd tot by die
water kan bring, maar hom nie kan maak drink nie.
Wat beteken dit om nuwe eienaars te “ondersteun” op hul herverdeelde plase? Wat wil jy nou eintlik van
wie af hê? Teelepels om mee te voer?
Die antwoord is: Nee, hulle gaan nie die soort ondersteuning kry wat Hall in haar ideologiese verbeelding
Nes enige ander persoon wat vir hom grond gekoop het om op te boer, moet die nuwe eienaars maar die
vergaderings, seminare, kursusse, landbouskoue, praatjies van verskillende verskaffers en
landboudemonstrasies bywoon en leer wat daar te leer is. Dan kom ons nog by die aanleer van die gebruik
van moderne tegnologie vir beplanning, bestuur en rekordhouding. Want lankal is die tyd verby dat jy jou
rekords sommer agterop ’n sigaretboksie of op ’n stukkie papier kan hou.
Wanneer gaan jy al die hergevestigdes van al hierdie dinge geleer kry? Solank ’n mens nie dié vraag kan
beantwoord nie, bly herverdeling ’n gerieflike gedagte.
In die lig van al dié probleme: Watter nut sal dit hê om die proses te versnel om grond en verwante bates
aan armes oor te dra?
Moet die kleintjies en jonges van vandag nie eerder ons teikengroep wees as ons hierin sukses wil behaal
Dis hulle wat met lees-, skryf- en beplanningsvaardighede toegerus moet word (om skool toe te gaan verg
moedige beplanning!) sodat die gesegde “education breeds wealth” waar kan word. Want net soos
armoede geen kleur ken nie, het breinkrag en harde werk ook niks met ras te doen nie.
* Leonie Katzke boer in die Levubu-omgewing.
2009 06 21 Haal die emosie uit grondhervorming
Maandag Aktueel: TIM DU PLESSIS
129 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Ek is seker te “pigmenteel gestrem” om dit sê, maar dis wat ek glo: Die skewe verdeling van grond
volgens ras is nie Suid-Afrika se knellendste vraagstuk nie. Dis wel ’n kwessie wat geweldige emosie
As die herverdeling van grond met die waai van ’n towerstaf opgelos kon word, sal Suid-Afrika se
voortbestaansprobleme nie daarmee saam verdwyn nie.
Koud en klinies beskou, bedreig niks die land meer as werkloosheid en armoede nie. En die derduisende
mense wat elke dag op die arbeidsmark beland sonder vaardighede wat hulle vir indiensneming geskik
maak. Talle het ’n matrieksertifikaat wat jaarliks devalueer en sommige het selfs ewe nuttelose
Die SA bevolking is reeds twee derdes verstedelik, terwyl sommige projeksies dit wil hê dat die koers
binne enkele jare op 75% sal staan.
Daardie miljoene in die stede soek werk, kos, ’n blyplek, skole, hospitale en openbare vervoer.
Al haal die regering sy teiken en sit 30 persent van die landbougrond oor minder as vyf jaar in die hande
van swart boere, gaan dit geen duit verskil maak aan die lot van die miljoene wat in die stede swaarkry
nie. Met of sonder die behoud van die beginsel van gewillige koper/verkoper.
Gewillige koper/verkoper is nie die rede dat grondhervorming misluk nie. Dis ook nie die houding of
gesindheid van die boere nie – allermins.
Grondhervorming is ’n flop omdat die amptenare in die stelsel wat die ANC-regering geskep het om
grond te herverdeel onbekwaam is en/of bloot nie hul werk doen nie.
Solank as wat die regering in ontkenning is hieroor, sal grondhervorming aanhou stotter en vasval.
Verlede week in die parlement het die nuwe minister van landelike ontwikkeling en grondsake, mnr.
Gugile Nkwinti, ’n paar nuwe geluide laat hoor. Én ’n paar holruggeryde, onbehulpsames . . .
Sy stelling dat dit die ANC 80 jaar gekos het om die vorige regering te oortuig van swart mense se
geregverdigde grondeise verklap die emosie wat die debat in die ANC oor grondbesit omgeef.
Afrikaners, wat hul eie stryd gehad het, behoort dié emosie te verstaan. Maar emosie moet opsy gesit
word wanneer grondhervorming aangepak word.
Want ’n mens kan met ewe veel emosie ’n ewe steriele argument opper wat sê in 15 jaar van ANC-
bewind is skandalig min met grondhervorming gevorder. Dít kan tog nie die vorige regering se skuld
Nkwinti sal hom, sy party en sy amptenare moet losruk uit die blaam-en-verwyt-sindroom onderliggend
aan sy opmerking oor die ANC se stryd van 80 jaar.
Dis hoofsaaklik die ANC se skuld dat die grondonreg van die verlede nog voortduur. Erken dit ’n slag.
130 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
As die betrokke departement en die ander strukture met amptenare beman was wat op grond van
verdienste aangestel is en nie op grond van velkleur of die ANC se kaderbeleid nie, sou daar al baie meer
vordering met grondhervorming gewees het.
En klim ’n slag van die boere se nekke af. Suid-Afrika se boere is ’n spesie op hul eie. Hulle is lekker
bedônnerd, maar hulle is nie ’n spul stiksienige boosaards nie. Om die waarheid te sê, hulle is hiper-
pragmatiste – veel meer as die stedelike boheme wat so op hulle neersien.
Dis bemoedigend dat Nkwinti sê ’n Zim-scenario moet in SA tot elke prys vermy word.
Hopelik sê hy dit nie om grondbesitters emosioneel af te dreig of te intimideer nie.
Die Zim-katastrofe sal net vermy word as grondhervorming in SA koelbloedig rasioneel en pragmaties
Die sleutel tot sukses is ’n behoorlike, wetmatige proses. En eerlike amptenare wat hul werk ken tesame
met verstandige politici.
As dit misluk, sal sowat 40 000 kommersiële boere hul plase verloor. 40 miljoen ander Suid-Afrikaners
sal hul land verloor. Soos in Zimbabwe.
TIM DU PLESSIS is die redakteur van Beeld.
2009 06 22 New model for land reform at Riemvasmaak
NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Within two years of becoming one of the first communities to successfully
reclaim land seized under apartheid, many of Riemvasmaak’s forcibly removed residents had returned to
THE launch of a R200m citrus project at Riemvasmaak in the Northern Cape provides a case study of
how the government hopes to run its comprehensive rural development programme presented to
Parliament earlier this month.
On Friday, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti handed 172 families title
deeds to scores of commercial farms totalling 47 000ha bordering on the Augrabies Falls National Park,
north of the Gariep River.
Nkwinti is expected to co-ordinate an integrated development effort with the departments of Agriculture;
Trade and Industry; Public Works; Arts and Culture; Education and Health to upgrade infrastructure,
facilities and market access.
The ceremony marked the final stage of settling one of South Africa’s most prominent land claims. It
could signal the start of a more pragmatic approach to land reforms that have so far failed to live up to
promises of bringing prosperity to rural backwaters, including Riemvasmaak.
131 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
A recent study showed more than half of all land reform farms have collapsed, but anecdotal evidence
suggests the figure is far higher, lending urgency to efforts to adopt a more commercially sustainable
The hundreds of families who had occupied Riemvasmaak for centuries were forcibly removed in the
1970s when the apartheid government decided to turn their land into a military camp . Those classified
“coloured” were relocated to Gordonia, near the Vaal River; Xhosa speakers were trucked to the former
homeland of Ciskei in Eastern Cape, and Namas were dumped in southern Namibia.
Under post-apartheid restitution law, anyone dispossessed under racist laws was entitled to reclaim
ancestral land. In 1994, the Riemvasmaak community became one of the first to do so successfully.
Within two years many had returned, although it took more than a decade for them to be granted full title
to the 74000ha they were awarded, including a 4000ha chunk of the Augrabies Falls National Park that
was deproclaimed by Parliament in 2004.
Since then, several promising projects have been launched. They include farming joint ventures and
ecotourism projects in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund. But poverty levels remain high because
larger commercial ventures have failed to take off. This is partly because weak institutional arrangements
at community level resulted in infighting and corruption, discouraging investment at the level needed.
The community trust that owns the land is dysfunctional after two members were arrested in March for
allegedly embezzling funds, Northern Cape officials say. The trust is under court administration until the
case is concluded.
These events are enough to scare off many investors, especially after the collapse of SA’s most prominent
land reform joint venture company, South African Farm Management (SAFM). The company is being
liquidated by Absa , which is owed about R100m in overdrafts and operational loans to 17 entities,
including prominent Mpumalanga export farm Lisbon Estates.
But SAFM CEO Charles Boyes tells Business Day this should not be seen as an indicator that land reform
farms are doomed to fail. Late grant disbursal, a ban on using land reform farms to raise capital, and the
poor state of farms inherited by beneficiaries had contributed .
Some improvements being mooted or implemented, including up-front grant disbursal and buying
movable assets together with land, are partly thanks to SAFM’s experiences, he says. “We were the
guinea pigs of land reform. Now policies are changing.”
At Riemvasmaak, this has been translated into a joint venture that safeguards investors from institutional
failures inherent in the current communitybased land reform model.
A consortium led by Cape- based CitroGold, which develops high-quality fruit cultivars based on
extensive market research though its holding company, BioGold International, will lease up to 700ha of
high-quality land from the beneficiaries. This will be developed into a high-volume horticultural concern
producing citrus, grapes, pomegranates and figs, mostly for export.
The estimated R200m investment will pay for vine and orchard establishment, farm infrastructure
including dams, pump houses and a road network, and processing facilities such as state-of- the-art pack-
132 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
houses. It is expected to create 200 permanent and 400 temporary jobs, and serve as a catalyst for
commercial agricultural production in the district.
The community will hold an indirect stake in the consortium paid for by the Industrial Development
Corporation, full ownership and management of an incubator pilot funded by the Development Bank of
SA , and a majority stake in goat-rearing operations on surrounding land.
The consortium has also set aside a portion of development costs for an education fund that will train
locals in skills ranging from supervisory to scientific. This must provide the expertise to run the project
once CitroGold exits after 20 years.
CitroGold MD Bruce Cook cites several reasons why he believes the venture will succeed where others
“We are making leading-edge horticultural intellectual property available to new farmers,” he says.
“Many fail because they are using old technology.”
Keeping the business entity separate from the community trust and allowing for a realistic incubation
period are key factors.
“The main reason for failure has been bringing the community in too early,” he says. A structured
programme of skills transfer followed by the transfer of assets is far more sustainable, he says. “In
agriculture, you farm for your children. I think government is beginning to understand this.”
2009 06 22 Concern over willing buyer, seller change
AGRICULTURAL unions warned that calls made last week by Rural Development and Land Reform
Minister Gugile Nkwinti for an overhaul of the willing buyer, willing seller model were harming
investment prospects in the sector.
Theo de Jager, of farmers’ union AgriSA, told Business Day on Friday he had been inundated with calls
from members who had shelved investment plans until the government clarified whether it meant to
expropriate farms at prices below market value.
The Transvaal Agricultural Union issued a statement expressing alarm at Nkwinti’s “attack on the
principle of a willing seller, willing buyer concept that does not mean any good to agriculture, especially
as the expropriation option has been mentioned several times”.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) also issued a statement on Friday expressing “disappointment” that
Nkwinti chose to use this model as a “scapegoat for his department and his government’s own failings”.
“Successful economies are built on the bedrock of the protection of property rights and there is a strong
symbiotic relationship between property rights and positive economic growth,” the DA’s shadow rural
development and land reform minister Mpowele Swathe said. “The real problem is that more than 50% of
farms redistributed have collapsed and are no longer productive because the department has managed the
process so badly.”
133 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
Nkwinti told Parliament last week that “significant changes” were needed to the willing buyer, willing
seller model because the government could not afford to fund its land reform targets.
“The department will have to investigate less costly alternative methods of land acquisition,” he said in
his budget vote speech.
Also that day, Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Peterson said partnerships with organised agriculture
were crucial if SA wanted to become a net food exporter again.
Spokesman Eddie Mohoebi declined to clarify if Nkwinti’s comments signalled the government planned
to revive the Expropriation Bill shelved last year. This law would have made it easier for the government
to cap the amount of compensation paid for expropriated farms. Representatives of both farmers’ unions
said they had been promised a clarification meeting with Nkwinti within weeks.
Nkwinti has raised the issue of unaffordable land prices retarding land reforms several times since his
appointment last month , and is unlikely to back down on the issue. Sapa reported that he also told the
National Assembly last week that foreigners buying golf estates and game farms were making land
unaffordable for South Africans, who could not be expected to wait much longer for land redress .
Just 6% of white-owned farmland has been distributed since 1994 , which means the government is
hopelessly off track to meet its target of transferring 30% of farmland by 2014.
2009 06 22 Concern over willing buyer, seller change
AGRICULTURAL unions warned that calls made last week by Rural Development and Land Reform
Minister Gugile Nkwinti for an overhaul of the willing buyer, willing seller model were harming
investment prospects in the sector.
Theo de Jager, of farmers’ union AgriSA, told Business Day on Friday he had been inundated with calls
from members who had shelved investment plans until the government clarified whether it meant to
expropriate farms at prices below market value.
The Transvaal Agricultural Union issued a statement expressing alarm at Nkwinti’s “attack on the
principle of a willing seller, willing buyer concept that does not mean any good to agriculture, especially
as the expropriation option has been mentioned several times”.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) also issued a statement on Friday expressing “disappointment” that
Nkwinti chose to use this model as a “scapegoat for his department and his government’s own failings”.
“Successful economies are built on the bedrock of the protection of property rights and there is a strong
symbiotic relationship between property rights and positive economic growth,” the DA’s shadow rural
development and land reform minister Mpowele Swathe said. “The real problem is that more than 50% of
134 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
farms redistributed have collapsed and are no longer productive because the department has managed the
process so badly.”
Nkwinti told Parliament last week that “significant changes” were needed to the willing buyer, willing
seller model because the government could not afford to fund its land reform targets.
“The department will have to investigate less costly alternative methods of land acquisition,” he said in
his budget vote speech.
Also that day, Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Peterson said partnerships with organised agriculture
were crucial if SA wanted to become a net food exporter again.
Spokesman Eddie Mohoebi declined to clarify if Nkwinti’s comments signalled the government planned
to revive the Expropriation Bill shelved last year. This law would have made it easier for the government
to cap the amount of compensation paid for expropriated farms. Representatives of both farmers’ unions
said they had been promised a clarification meeting with Nkwinti within weeks.
Nkwinti has raised the issue of unaffordable land prices retarding land reforms several times since his
appointment last month , and is unlikely to back down on the issue. Sapa reported that he also told the
National Assembly last week that foreigners buying golf estates and game farms were making land
unaffordable for South Africans, who could not be expected to wait much longer for land redress .
Just 6% of white-owned farmland has been distributed since 1994 , which means the government is
hopelessly off track to meet its target of transferring 30% of farmland by 2014.
2009 06 24 Apartheid’s rural legacy and potential seeds of development
RURAL development is moving up on the government’s agenda. Its heightened profile appears most
obviously in the establishment of a dedicated ministry. The new focus reflects frustration with slow
progress in overcoming the legacies of apartheid in the rural areas — essentially the former bantustan
regions and commercial agriculture. The data paint a stark picture of the challenges facing rural people.
Only about 35% of working-age adults in the former bantustan areas have income- generating
employment. This compares with some 45% in the urban areas — and an international norm of 60%. It’s
not surprising that in 2007 almost 40% of households in the former bantustans depended on social grants
— almost twice the share in the rest of SA.
Where rural people have employment, they are far more likely to earn less than R1000 a month.
According to the Labour Force Survey, over half of farm workers were paid less than R1000 a month last
year , compared with a tenth of other formal workers.
135 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
In the former bantustan areas, half of employed people earned under R1000 a month. A third were in the
informal sector — twice as high as in the rest of SA.
The worst infrastructure backlogs are still in the former bantustans, reflecting both the huge cost of
overcoming decades of neglect and the difficulty of providing services to relatively scattered rural
homesteads. The former Transkei and Ciskei lag furthest behind: in 2006, only a quarter had piped water
in their house or yard, and a third had no electricity.
Social services demonstrated similar weaknesses. The General Household Survey found that rural
children stayed more years in school, but were more likely to be behind their grade level. A fifth said they
had no textbooks.
In health, people in the former bantustans were twice as likely to say that they had not sought healthcare
when ill because it was too far to travel.
The rural malaise is rooted in apartheid restrictions on black migration to more viable economic regions.
Those policies led to heavy overpopulation of the most poorly resourced regions in the country, and then
essentially denied them infrastructure and investment.
The result is a classic vicious cycle of poverty. Landlessness and the lack of irrigation make it almost
impossible to raise productivity without an injection of resources. A third of SA’s population is rural but
agriculture accounts for only 10% of employment — a bigger gap than found in virtually any other
developing country. Only Eastern Cape seems to offer some hope for intensification of agriculture. Even
there, the land probably cannot carry most of the people who now live there.
Weak economic infrastructure, combined with deteriorating rail and roads in many commercial farm
areas, raises production costs and limits market access. That in turn reduces productivity, meaning users
cannot afford to contribute much toward new infrastructure investments. Meanwhile, poor social
infrastructure means lower skill and health levels.
Moreover, out-migration means that working-age adults have to support more elderly people and
Finally, farm workers often live in isolated settlements, depend on their employers for housing as well as
pay and have the lowest level of education of any formal workers. That makes it hard for them to organise
and difficult for the government to protect their rights as citizens and workers.
These problems require a holistic response that combines the identification of a realistic growth strategy
— necessarily centred on agriculture, agro-processing, tourism and the services — with a systematic and
realistic approach to infrastructure backlogs. That, in turn, requires far better co-ordination across
government, as well as increased funding.
Even then, migration to the metro areas is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
By extension, the metro areas had better plan for continued growth at well above the national average.
What rural development does not need is to keep land reform as a separate project from economic
development. Too often, the target for transferring land to black owners has deteriorated into an emphasis
136 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
on narrow black economic empowerment. More fundamentally, giving land to the landless has not
worked very well anywhere in the world. The challenge for an integrated rural development strategy is to
link access to land integrally with core farm services — marketing, extension, seasonal credit and basic
- Makgetla is lead economist for research and information at the Development Bank of Southern Africa.
2009 06 25 Ways for Nkwinti to appease both sides
LAND Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti’s remark last week about overhauling the “willing buyer, willing
seller” model because the government can’t afford to meet its redistribution targets raises the depressing
prospect that he has fallen into the same trap as his predecessor, Lulu Xingwana.
No one can quibble with the fact that reversing the effects of racist restrictions on land ownership since
1994 has been a painfully slow process.
Lack of progress has resulted in a build-up of land anger and frustration that occasionally spills over into
violence, ranging from cattle mutilation and land invasions to abductions and murder. This increases the
cost of doing business and compromises food security and production efficiency as much as collapsed
land-reform farms do.
But rather than getting on with the messy, complicated business of implementing the land reforms this
country sorely needs, Nkwinti has chosen to indulge in a bout of populist posturing, admittedly in a less
confrontational way than Xingwana did.
In its strategic plan on land reform tabled in Parliament this month and signed off by Nkwinti, the
government admits its budget allocation for buying land needs to increase fivefold at current market
prices. As there is no prospect of this happening, the only conclusion to be drawn is that Nkwinti is about
to launch large-scale farm expropriations, and that land owners will be compensated at well below market
But he intends no such thing. Despite having the constitutional and legislative tools at their disposal, no
land reform minister since 1994 has shown any inclination to take the drastic step of expropriating farms
at prices even slightly below market value because they’re afraid of the inevitable international backlash.
They know full well that this would do incalculable harm to investor confidence that property rights are
secure in SA, and would incur the wrath of the Treasury.
On the other hand, there are no doubt many land owners who hold out for unrealistic prices in the
knowledge that the state is a captive buyer and officials are under intense political pressure to show that
they’re delivering land, which in turn inflates land values.
Instead of making damaging but empty threats, Nkwinti should apply his mind to what can actually be
done to prevent this from continuing.
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For a start, he can revive valuation forums, now defunct, that in many instances successfully arrived at
fair market prices for farms sold to the government for land restitution, the programme that allows victims
of apartheid forced removals to reclaim their ancestral land or be given fair compensation.
Property attorneys, estate agents, local valuers, agronomists, prominent land owners, representatives from
local co-operatives and bank officials would agree on valuation guidelines for different land uses in a
specific area, such as irrigated sugar cane, dry-land maize or grazing. Allowance would also be made for
variations within the same land use in the same area because of differing soil quality. Valuations for
individual properties would be based on these guidelines and adjusted to account for variations in
This would help Nkwinti to crack down on corruption in his department, with land owners colluding with
officials to buy the valuations they want.
Officials must also be able to walk away from overpriced property deals rather than being given the
incentive to buy at all costs because their performance is measured by how many hectares they’ve
In valid restitution cases, in which communities insist on land restoration but there’s a deadlock over
price, the government must simply recommend expropriation, as allowed for in the constitution, and let
the courts decide on fair and equitable compensation.
This would appease the populists, who believe the government doesn’t really have the political will to
carry through land reforms but like to blow hot air on public platforms, as well as giving land owners the
satisfaction of knowing the amount of compensation they’re paid would not depend solely on the whim of
- Hofstatter is contributing editor.
2009 06 26 Vested interests ‘blocking’ switch to freehold
VESTED interests in the town planning and surveying industries, resistance by rural councils to writing
off rates debts, and racial prejudices among land officials were key obstacles preventing communal land
from being converted to freehold title, Free Market Foundation director Leon Louw said in Johannesburg
He was speaking at a function to discuss the findings of a research report into the Communal Land Rights
Act by Fulbright scholar Laura Grube titled Liberating Blacks from Apartheid Land Tenure.
The act seeks to convert 16-million hectares of communal land to freehold tenure. This is the oft-
mentioned 13% of SA’s surface area of 122-million hectares allotted to blacks under apartheid. The rest
was reserved for the white minority.
Land-reform officials estimate that more than 21-million people — almost half the population — still live
in communal areas. The act is therefore supposed to run parallel with land reforms aimed at decongesting
former homelands by redistributing white-owned land.
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When it was passed in 2004, the act was touted as key to unlocking economic potential in communal
areas. But it has never been implemented because of the complexity and costs involved and several legal
challenges for concentrating too much power over land allocation in the hands of unelected traditional
After conducting field research in the former Transkei, Grube also reached the conclusion that the act
would require a huge public awareness campaign, reform of traditional leadership structures, and vastly
improved administrative capacity in government. “It is not a workable solution,” she said.
She recommended using the Communal Property Association Act, an existing law that allows for
individual title on communal land with approval by the director-general of land reform, or devising
simpler freehold conversion methods.
The Free Market Foundation has long been an advocate of radical freehold conversion. “We believe
government must simply decree that all land that is lawfully occupied must become owned,” said Louw.
Obstacles included “vested interests” in the surveying and planning industries that stood to earn “billions”
from the act; rates owed by councils on rural property; and reluctance by racially prejudiced land officials
to grant fellow blacks the same ownership rights as whites, he said.
Solutions included getting councils to write off the debt on the expectation of future earnings as freehold
properties gained value; enforcing existing boundaries and allowing owners to choose whether to survey;
and implementing changes from the ground up rather than waiting for buy-in from Pretoria.
The foundation has enjoyed some success using this approach with the Bakgatla-ba-Mocha community in
Mpumalanga. After an eight-year battle, thousands of households now have freehold title to their stands.
“Even banks are interested now,” said Louw.
2009 06 26 Nuwe begrip vir landbou lê voor – minister
Kaapstad. – Mnr. Gerrit van Rensburg, Wes-Kaapse minister van landbou, het gister die hand van
vriendskap na die nasionale minister van landbou, bosbou en visserye uitgereik.
Hy het op ’n inligtingsessie oor sy begrotingsdebat gesê hy “is regtig opgewonde” oor die landbou-
uitsprake wat me. Tina Joemat-Pettersson maak. “Daar lê nuwe begrip vir die landbou voor in die tyd wat
kom,” het hy voorspel.
Van Rensburg is voornemens om Joemat-Pettersson gou na Elsenburg te nooi om met landbouleiers in
gesprek te tree sodat sy na hul probleme kan luister.
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Van Rensburg het ook gemaan dat waterskaarste en aardverwarming “daadwerklike bedreigings” vir die
landbou inhou. Daarom moet proaktief gewerk word aan alternatiewe om ’n volhoubare sektor te
“Landbou is in die verlede dikwels as die swartskaap behandel,” sê Van Rensburg. “Maar die realiteit is
dat landbou die hart van die provinsie is en dat dié sektor aan duisende mense voedselsekuriteit en
Landbou kan ’n bepalende rol in landelike ontwikkeling speel en in die provinsie se pogings om
hongersnood en armoede teen 2020 te halveer. Maar hy sien gevaarligte flikker “as iemand sonder werk
of heenkome bloot aanmeld vir ’n grondhervormingstoelae sonder ’n besef van wat dit behels om in die
landbou betrokke te wees”.
2009 07 01 Gauteng to probe payments of R81m
The Gauteng agriculture department seems to be fertile ground for corruption and the SAPS is allegedly
investigating illegal deals worth R5m, although insiders claim double payments of R81m have been made.
A FORENSIC investigation by the Gauteng agriculture department has uncovered that R81m of double
payments were made to companies that had not done business with the department, sources say.
A source close to the investigation said last week the department had handed over documents to the South
African Police Service (SAPS) which proved R5m of double payments were made into several accounts.
“But people at the department’s forensics say the amount is about R81m.”
Abimbola Olowa, chief director of legal services, who is part of the internal investigation did not deny or
confirm that the double payments totalled R81m. “I can’t comment. The matter is sub judice,” she said.
The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said it was not surprised by these allegations
“We have always suspected that department was rife with corruption. That’s a huge amount of money. If
those allegations are true they (the government) need to recover that money,” DA leader in the province
Jack Bloom said yesterday.
Department spokesman Sipho Thanjekwayo said he knew nothing about the probe’s findings.
Earlier this month, department head Steven Cornelius told Business Day that the department was
conducting an internal investigation into several allegations of double payments. This followed
allegations of double payments made in the purchase of former department MEC Nomantu Nkomo-
Ralehoko’s controversial Mercedes Benz ML 63 AMG.
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Two payments were allegedly made for the car — about R920000 to Bez Mega Motors and more than
R1m to another company listed as a service provider in the government database. The second payment
was detected and did not go through.
The car was later hijacked while in Nkomo-Ralehoko’s husband’s possession. An SAPS delegation was
in Swaziland last week to check if a car spotted there was the former MEC’s missing vehicle.
A senior official has been suspended in connection with the irregular purchase and a criminal case has
Sources said in all double payment cases the perpetrators would first pay the deserving company, and
then authorise another payment to an “unsuspecting” company on the department’s database.
The perpetrators would then approach the second company to inform them that the payment was a
mistake and demand that the money be paid back.
They would then provide a bank account which was not the department’s.
Nkomo-Ralehoko resigned as MEC and has since been replaced by Nandi Mayathola-Khoza, the former
member of the mayoral council on community development in the Johannesburg council.
2009 07 03 Zuma calls for Africa agri-forum
FOOD SECURITY: The continent needs to effectively exploit its natural resources in a competitive
manner to survive in the global market, said President Jacob Zuma in his first speech to an African Union
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma yesterday called for the establishment of a Conference of African agriculture
ministers, saying such a forum would fight hunger and poverty by facilitating regional agribusiness
Zuma was speaking at the 13th ordinary session of the African Union (AU) summit at Sirte in Libya.
In his speech, e-mailed to Business Day, Zuma said the body would be a vehicle for states to enable
entrepreneurs to establish partnerships and joint ventures across frontiers.
Zuma called for integrated African agricultural value chains that would link up with the global marketing
“Working together as the continent, we will be able to fight hunger and poverty, and work towards a
more prosperous and food-secure Africa,” he said in his first speech to an AU summit.
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He said investment in agriculture was an “absolute necessity” for the continent in order to feed its people.
The continent needed to effectively exploit its natural resources in a competitive manner to survive in the
global market, he said.
Given the challenges posed by the global financial crisis, and the growing threat of food insecurity, Zuma
urged the heads of state to remain committed to the Maputo Declaration on agriculture and food security
It incorporates the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme and flagship projects,
involving action plans for agricultural development on a national, regional and continental level.
Zuma said SA’s key priorities over the next five years included a comprehensive rural development
strategy linked to land and agrarian reform, the improvement of the conditions of farm workers and farm
dwellers, as well as building potential for rural sustainable livelihoods.
“We have adopted a three- pronged strategy of agrarian transformation, rural development, and land
reform in order to change the face of rural areas in our country through socio- economic development,
and to improve food security.”
He said that access to land was a key priority, particularly for people in the countryside.
As a result, his administration was reviewing the appropriateness of the land redistribution programme.
“We are doing this in order to speed up land reform and redistribution and to promote land ownership by
He said SA’s land reform programme would be accompanied by technical support to beneficiaries “to
ensure optimal utilisation of the land” for agricultural purposes.
He said measures to support the commercial agriculture sector, big and small, as well as promoting food
security, were essential.
2009 07 10 Landbou ‘moet stimulant vir platteland wees’
“Dit is ironies dat landelike verbruikers gemiddeld R1,04 meer per gemoniteerde voedselitem betaal as
die verbruiker in die stad,” het mnr. Gerrit van Rensburg, Wes-Kaapse minister van landbou en landelike
ontwikkeling, in sy begrotingsrede in die provinsiale wetgewer gesê.
Hy het verwys na die dramatiese styging in die prys van sommige basiese voedselsoorte en gesê mense in
die landelike gebiede word veral swaar getref deur stygende voedselpryse en die huidige swak
Daar is gebiede in die provinsie waar landbou tot 80% van die provinsie se bruto binnelandse produk
(BBP) bydra. Landbou sal dus ’n belangrike rol moet speel in die stimulasie van die landelike gebiede.
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Hy het ook daarop gewys dat landbou die soort besighede kan lok wat sosiale voordele vir hierdie
gemeenskappe kan inhou.
Die Wes-Kaapse regering voorsien ’n provinsie waar landelike hongersnood en armoede teen 2020
gehalveer sal wees, ’n platteland waar werkloosheid nekomgedraai is en waar volhoubare
boerderypraktyke toegepas word, het hy gesê.
Sy departement sal dit egter nie alleen kan vermag nie. Alle ander departemente sal hul deel moet bydra.
“Ons moet verseker dat openbare dienslewering, soos skole, hospitale, veiligheidsdienste, asook alle
nodige infrastruktuur, in stand gehou word. Mense moet trots wees om op die Wes-Kaapse platteland te
woon. Dit moenie ’n plek van mistroostigheid en frustrasie wees nie.”
Van Rensburg het gesê die Wes-Kaapse regering kyk na spesiale ekonomiese gebiede waar beleggers
belastingvakansies en ander voordele kan geniet. Werklose mense moet opleiding ontvang wat hulle beter
kanse in die arbeidsmark sal gee. Gesinswaardes moet weer aandag geniet sodat die sosiale probleme wat
sommige gemeenskappe lamlê, hanteer kan word.
Sy departement het reeds aan die werk gespring, en sal voor einde vanjaar sy eerste landelike
ontwikkelingprojek bekend stel, het Van Rensburg gesê.
Hy het ook in sy rede daarop gewys dat die regering maniere wil vind om entrepreneurskap aan te wakker
sodat mense geleenthede kan raaksien en aangryp, eerder as om in ’n gees van afhanklikheid voort te leef.
Geen inwoner behoort maar net vir ewig tevrede te wees met aalmoese van die regering nie.
Ook in landbou is dit die geval. “Ek sien gevaarligte wanneer ’n persoon sonder ’n werk of heenkome
bloot aanmeld vir ’n grondhervormingstoekenning sonder ’n werklike besef van wat dit behels om in die
landbou betrokke te wees,” het Van Rensburg gesê.
2009 07 10 [Landbou] Navorsing mag nie ‘aan agterspeen suig’
Die landbousektor het in die laaste paar jaar intensief aandag geskenk aan die ondersteuning van
opkomende boere. Dit het egter die gevaar laat ontstaan dat navorsing en tegnologie aan die agterspeen
van die begroting begin suig het.
Só het mnr. Gerrit van Rensburg, Wes-Kaapse minister van landbou en landelike ontwikkeling, in sy
begrotingsrede in die provinsiale wetgewer gesê. Hy het in sy rede bekend gemaak dat die begroting
voorsiening maak dat R63,653 miljoen aan navorsing bestee kan word.
Dit is egter slegs 16% van die totale begroting. Hy meen egter die bedrag moet in die toekoms groter
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Hy het daarop gewys dat sy departement oor een van die sterkste span deskundiges in die land beskik.
Daar is sewe goed toegeruste navorsingsentra om die onderskeie streke met hul verskillende
klimaatstoestande te dien.
“Ons spog met 11 kuddes wat nasionaal erken word. Hoog op ons voorkeurlys is uitgebreide navorsing
wat fokus op die volstruis-, suiwel- en skaapbedryf, asook plantnavorsing op veral kleingrane en
“Ons veeartsenykundige projekte speel ook ’n belangrike rol in die Wes-Kaapse landbousektor. Die
fitosanitêre programme skep en onderhou die platform vir uitvoergeleenthede vir lewendehawe-boere. Dit
steun die nuwe regering se strewe om nuwes te vind en geleenthede te benut.”
Hy het gesê R46,985 miljoen word uit die begroting vir die Wes-Kaapse veeartsenykundige programme
Omdat waterskaarste en aardverwarming ’n daadwerklike bedreiging vir die provinsie inhou, en veral vir
landbou, moet pro-aktief gewerk word aan alternatiewe om ’n volhoubare sektor te verseker. Altesame
R44,4 miljoen uit die begroting gaan vir volhoubare bronnebestuursprogramme aangewend word, het hy
Die departement wil ook ’n poging aanwend om die volgende generasie leerders te oortuig dat landbou
talle geleenthede bied. Daarom begroot die departement R47,7 miljoen vir opleiding in die huidige
begrotingsjaar. Dit sluit kollege-, voortgesette onderwys-, en interne personeelopleiding in.
Landbou het dringend talent nodig om die uitdagings te pak wat voedselproduksie in die oë staar.
Daarvoor word gekyk na uitreik-programme vir laer- en sekondêre skole, die toekenning van beurse, veral
vir skaars vaardighede, leerders- en internskappe, asook die uitbouing van interne kapasiteit: van Abet-
vlak tot by doktorsgrade.
Van Rensburg het in sy rede ook gesê buitelandse beleggers is nie die vyand van die werkers nie.
“Beleggers skep geleenthede vir werkers om hulself te verbeter en te groei sover hul persoonlike ambisie
strek. Deur landbou winsgewend te maak, sal dit ook aantreklik raak vir beleggers. So kan verdere groei
gestimuleer word in dié sektor,” het Van Rensburg gesê.
Hy het ook die provinsie se kommersiële boere van hernieude ondersteuning verseker.
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2009 07 10 Begroting fokus op nuwe boere
Die Wes-Kaapse departement van landbou en landelike ontwikkeling se begroting van R398,6 miljoen
gaan grootliks aangewend word vir die skepping van geleenthede, het mnr. Gerrit van Rensburg in sy
begrotingsrede in die provinsiale wetgewer gesê.
Die Wes-Kaapse minister van landbou en landelike ontwikkeling het gesê dit word gedoen omdat die
geleentheid vir ’n beter lewe, voedselsekerheid, werkverskaffing, grondbesit en die kans om daarop te kan
boer, en die gevolglike uitwissing van armoede, van die hoofdoelwitte van sy department is.
“In hierdie begroting is R113,844 miljoen, of sowat 28% van die totale begroting, voorsiening vir die
ondersteuning van gevestigde nuwe boere.” Hy het gesê eienaarskap van grond beteken niks wanneer
daar nie produktief op geboer word nie. Daarom sal voortgegaan word om die nuwe toetreders toe te rus
met vaardighede, kennis en selfs toerusting om hulle te help op die pad na volwaardige kommersiële
Omdat opkomende boere die raad en bystand van voorligters nodig het, gaan die department se
voorligtingspan in die volgende drie tot vier jaar tot 119 bekwame en toepaslik opgeleide beamptes
vergroot word, het Van Rensburg gesê.
“Maar dit moet ook ons prioriteit wees om die bestaande boere te help om produksie te laat groei, sodat
hulle winsgewend kan bly.”
2009 07 13 MP urges Land Bank to come clean
AFRICAN National Congress (ANC) MP Salam Abram has challenged Land Bank CEO Phakamani
Hadebe to come clean on whether politicians and bank employees or their friends and relatives benefited
improperly from a R100m AgriBEE fund it controlled.
“The bank is seen as a place that one can join and start looting,” he told Parliament’s agriculture, fishing
and forestry committee last week. “We need to know (who) looted.”
Hadebe told MPs all information on alleged corruption had been passed on to police.
Hadebe outlined progress made since he took over the bank last July after it was removed from the
Department of Agriculture and placed under Treasury amid allegations of corruption.
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IT faults that allowed corruption to go undetected had been fixed, 68 critical posts had been filled, R541m
on the bank’s non-performing loan book had been collected, and pre-legal recoveries of R533m had been
achieved, he told MPs. The figures were being audited.
Last month Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan approved a R3,5bn lifeline to recapitalise the bank,
signalling Treasury’s confidence in its turnaround plan. Most of the funds would go to projects that
created jobs and stimulated rural economies.
But Abrams warned it was not enough for Hadebe to report on the bank’s achievements.
“We must also look at where the rot set in, (but Hadebe) has not taken us into his confidence.”
He requested that the committee be supplied with a report for a follow-up parliamentary hearing detailing
who had been charged, the status of police investigations and names of any politicians, board members,
employees or their associates who had benefited from the fund.
In April police spokesman Phuti Setati told Business Day that fraud charges linked to the AgriBEE fund
were being investigated against “certain individuals”, but declined to name them.
Hadebe also declined to provide Business Day with names or details.
The AgriBEE fund was originally set up by the a griculture department to support emerging farmers, and
R50m was earmarked for equity and R50m for enterprise development.
Payments were disbursed for projects on department instructions , from a special account in the Land
Bank, until they were frozen following a review of transactions last year by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
2009 07 16 Bid to set up lodge hindered by inefficiency
SIMON Shoyisa’s ordeal in trying to establish a tourist lodge in KwaZulu-Natal highlights the plight of
thousands who cannot get capital for commercial ventures because of the government’s failure to reform
land ownership rules in communal areas.
Shoyisa grew up in Hlabisa, an impoverished village near the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Park.
Five years ago he approached traditional authorities with a proposal to establish an upmarket lodge on
land they controlled that bordered on the park. He had spotted a gap in the market because the area sees
much tourist traffic, but has little accommodation.
He was allocated a 4ha stand on the understanding he would create jobs for locals and bring in much-
needed investment. He and two partners with tourism experience drew up a business plan for a 40-bed
lodge with game drives in the park and a projected annual turnover of R3,9m.
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Next he approached KwaZulu- Natal development finance institution Ithala for a soft loan of R7m. It said
that he qualified, but needed proof of secure tenure.
Documents, minutes and correspondence show Shoyisa had taken the necessary steps.
On the strength of a recommendation from traditional leaders, he obtained a letter from the local
municipality stating it had no objection to his plans. He took these documents to the offices of the
Ingonyama Trust Board, which administers most communal land in KwaZulu-Natal. But after a field
visit, which included taking GPS co-ordinates, Ingonyama officials concluded the stand was not
registered as trust land and therefore fell under the jurisdiction of the then land affairs department.
Officials sent Shoyisa from pillar to post, providing rational explanations for perpetuating an absurdity.
Land affairs told him the stand actually belonged to the Department of Public Works, whose officials
disagreed and sent him back to the land affairs department, which eventually agreed to another site visit
and concluded the land actually fell inside the park, administered by parastatal Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
It therefore belonged to public works, after all.
By then Shoyisa had secured a commitment valid until August 20 this year from the Department of Trade
and Industry for a grant equal to 30% of development costs, which would greatly improve his gearing. All
he needed to get going was a long-term lease from public works.
This proved anything but simple. Because the stand was on conservation land it first had to be registered
in the name of the provincial government. Afterwards the management authority, Ezemvelo, could choose
to dispose or let the land after an open bid process. Shoyisa’s customary allocation was therefore
This latest revelation, communicated to Shoyisa in April , came as a great shock. A month earlier, former
public works MEC Lydia Johnson had personally apologised on behalf of her officials for giving him the
run- around for years, he says.
“She instructed them to sort it out, and the best they could do was an open bid process,” he says.
In May the land was finally registered as provincial property. The ball was now in Ezemvelo’s court,
whose officials arranged for a site visit with Shoyisa on June 30, to which public works officials were
invited but failed to arrive.
Ezemvelo concluded it had been “misinformed”: the land Shoyisa pointed out to them in fact fell outside
the conservation area.
Last week Shoyisa was stunned when told to take the matter up with the Ingonyama Trust Board again,
putting him back where he started five years ago. Now he faces the prospect of applying from scratch for
his trade and industry grant, which expires next month.
“President (Jacob) Zuma says the government will develop the homelands, but these officials are just
oppressing the people,” he says. “Why don’t they do what they promise?”
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Provincial public works spokesman Mkululeko Ngcamu denied the department’s bungles had prevented
Shoyisa from building a lodge and bringing jobs and development to the region. “Due processes have
been followed,” he insisted.
State inefficiencies in reforming land ownership in communal areas have long been cited as an obstacle to
development in some of SA’s most impoverished rural areas.
A law seeking to convert this land to freehold, the Communal Land Rights Act, was passed in 2004 but
never implemented because of the complexity and costs involved.
The act also faced a legal challenge for giving too much power to unelected traditional leaders. The case
is still pending.
The Free Market Foundation says the government must simply decree all land lawfully occupied must
2009 07 23 State land restitution drive faces shortfall of R3bn
SA’s land-restitution programme had almost run out of money and needed R3bn extra just to settle claims
this financial year, chief land claims commissioner Blessing Mphela said yesterday.
Mphela said a range of “policy options” was being explored to meet restitution targets, such as getting
parastatals and councils to release land at below market value and paying productive rather than market
The shortage of funds means the state faces the difficult task of acquiring land at below-market value for
restitution purposes, but without resorting to expropriation.
The issue had been raised with Parliament’s rural development and land-reform committee and the
Treasury, said Mphela. “There is no reason for them not to rescue us. We have to settle claims, and to do
this we must buy land.”
The commission has spent R20,3bn since 1995 to settle about 75000 claims. This bought 2,4- million
hectares of land and paid for grants or financial compensation for 1,5-million beneficiaries.
Over the next three years it has been allocated R5,2bn to settle 4296 claims but the commission calculates
it needs R10,8bn extra at current market prices. It has already spent 97% of its R1,7bn allocation for this
A law making it easier for the government to expropriate at below market value for land reform was
shelved last year amid objections that it was unconstitutional as it gave the executive rather than the
judiciary the power to decide on compensation.
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Mphela said the constitution’s property clause required compensation to be just and equitable, and
expropriation was “not the cheapest option”.
Although there are 221 disputes with landowners on validity and price, only six notices of possible
expropriation have been served.
This suggests that parastatals and municipalities, which own large holdings, will increasingly come under
pressure to accept lower prices for their properties. It is estimated Stellenbosch municipality alone owns
land worth R2bn .
The commission also said it was finalising agreements with major players in mining, forestry and sugar
cane. A deal had been clinched with Mondi that ensured timber production was not affected , it said.
Negotiations with Huletts and Illovo were at an advanced stage.
Claims over conservation land present another major headache. The commission calculated it would need
R20bn to settle claims on the Kruger Park alone.
The Cabinet resolved last year to offer claimants alternative land or cash rather than title deeds to large
portions of the park. But two communities with the largest claims — the Ba Phalaborwa and Makahane
— are lobbying Parliament to reverse the decision , and will go to court if unsuccessful.
“Our position is we want title to our ancestral land,” said Ba Phalaborwa spokesman Steve Ramalape.
“We suffered under apartheid without land, and we can’t just forfeit our rights now.”
2009 07 29 Yet more delays await land claimants
DRY LAND: Members of the Motse community in the Waterberg, who fear a decade of waiting to have
their ancestral land restored has been in vain because the Land Claims Commission has run out of money.
CHIEF land claims commissioner Blessing Mphela’s announcement last week that the government had
run out of money to pay for land restitution claims came as a bitter blow to Alpheus Matlou.
Many community leaders, commercial farmers and lodge operators throughout SA are expecting to
conclude joint venture partnerships for redistributing land to blacks denied ownership under apartheid
without destroying its productive capacity.
Their hopes, like Matlou’s could be dashed.
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Mre than a decade ago he lodged a land claim of 50 000ha of prime conservation land and a few cattle
ranches in the Waterberg, north of Johannesburg, on behalf of the Motse community, expecting it would
be wrapped up in a year or two.
The most significant part of the claim was lodged on part of a conservation icon, the giant Lapalala
Wilderness owned by Rapula Farming.
Rapula had planned to invest the proceeds of selling the 13000ha claimed in a deal that would guarantee
real community ownership and financial benefits, and would maintain Lapalala as a unified nature
conservancy in perpetuity.
There were numerous delays caused by disputes with other landowners whose properties formed part of
the claim, a high staff turnover at the commission’s Limpopo office, and a lengthy round of bureaucratic
bungles that resulted in faulty farm valuations, misplaced documents and last minute cancellation of
crucial meetings. But Rapula, the Motse and the commission finally appeared poised to clinch a deal.
Now Mphela’s admission suggests the Motse face renewed lengthy delays. The commission needs
another R3bn from the Treasury to buy land earmarked for settlement in the last eight months of this
financial year, and R16bn over the next three years at current market prices although it has only been
Motse’s partnership with Rapula could also be in jeopardy, because the company is bleeding R3m a year
to keep the wilderness going and likely to shelve the project rather than continue to incur losses.
“We have been waiting more than 10 years, so this is a huge disappointment for the whole community,”
says Matlou. “We still have a very, very good deal with Lapalala. All we are waiting for is for the
commission to pay out.”
The commission remains optimistic that money for outstanding claims will be found.
“We have been to see the Treasury and hope they will come up with the necessary funds,” says Mphela.
“We have to settle claims, and to do that we must buy land, so there is no way they can’t rescue us.”
But not everyone is so sure. Kobus Pienaar of public interest law firm the Legal Resources Centre, which
has handled several high-profile land restitution cases, believes Treasury allocations for restitution are
declining because the commission has failed to present a convincing case.
The budget allocation for restitution went from R3bn in 2008-09 to R1,9bn this year, down to R1,4bn for
2010-11 — a decrease of more than 50% over three years.
“This is a clear indication that the Treasury is fully aware that things have gone seriously awry in the
Land Claims Commission,” says Pienaar.
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He believes the fault lies with the quality of data. “If the commission can put credible information on the
table, listing the names of communities that have lodged valid claims to specific portions of land, it would
have a much better chance of not running out of money to meet the state’s legal obligation to restore land
to the dispossessed.”
Treasury officials have expressed similar sentiments to Business Day.
Mphela’s remarks that the state was exploring different “policy options” to acquire land more cheaply for
land reform, including getting parastatals and municipalities to release properties they own at below
market value, has also drawn criticism.
Democratic Alliance shadow rural development and land reform minister Mpowele Swathe warns
“relying on uninformed short cuts” will harm the entire economy.
“To force councils to relinquish their property creates a very dangerous precedent that government can
arbitrarily expropriate property if their own budget does not add up,” he says.
“Such a trend would affect all property owners.”
Theo de Jager, who heads the land reform desk at farmers union AgriSA, warns that remarks by officials
about finding ways to bring down the cost of land reforms the government cannot afford — including
imposing land price ceilings for expropriated farms — will harm investor prospects and simply deflect
attention from the department’s own failings.
“They don’t say anything about how the department wastes billions on maladministration and on endless
legal battles testing the same principles,” he says. “They must buy smarter and eliminate corruption that
leads to inflated prices being paid.”
But there are signs that the government is aware of its shortcomings, and is trying to fix them.
Mphela told Parliament last month an audit of outstanding claims had revealed mistakes had been made in
calculating the number of claims settled and still outstanding, suggesting more credible data is being
compiled for the Treasury.
The commission also admitted for the first time this year its officials had falsely inflated some claims and
gazetted claims on the wrong properties before properly investigating their validity.
It expects to delist wrongly gazetted claims later this year, and has dismissed 108 claims in the year to
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But until these administrative reforms bear fruit, the Motse community and many like them remain in
limbo while prospective investors seek greener pastures.
2009 07 31 Land reform's middle ground
When President Jacob Zuma announced his new Cabinet on May 10, he ushered in a new era for the
state's apparatus charged with responding to rural poverty: political and bureaucratic responsibilities for
land reform, fisheries, forestry and agricultural development have been reshuffled, and are now clustered
into an array of new and renamed ministries and departments.
Zuma presented this reshuffling as a sign that his administration will embark on a re-energised initiative
for rural development, in line with the ANC's manifesto for the 2009 national elections which featured
"Rural development, food security and land reform" as one of its top five priorities.
This signals a new commitment from a party which has historically relied on an urban support base of the
working class and unemployed and has de-emphasised, if not quite ignored, the spatial legacy of
apartheid and the concentration of poverty in the rural areas.
For the future of the rural areas, the most significant changes in the new Cabinet are the separation of land
and agriculture, and the introduction of rural development as a ministerial mandate.
Responsibilities for land reform and for agriculture have always been held by separate departments. But
for the past 13 years these have been joined in one ministry - of Agriculture and Land Affairs - headed by
Derek Hanekom from 1996 to 1999, by Thoko Didiza from 1999 to 2006, and by Lulu Xingwana from
2006 until the 2009 national elections.
Now, the new-look cabinet places these responsibilities in separate ministries: a Ministry of Rural
Development and Land Reform (MRDLR) on the one hand, and a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and
Fisheries (MAFF) on the other.
Both are to be headed by former MECs for Agriculture: Gugile Nkwinti from the Eastern Cape, and the
Northern Cape's Tina Joemat-Petterson, respectively.
But key decisions about government's plans for the rural areas are likely to be taken elsewhere. At the
heart of the new administration's thinking on the future of the economy is a heavyweight triumvirate
made up of the National Treasury headed by Pravin Gordhan, a Ministry of Economic Development
under former unionist Ebrahim Patel, and a National Planning Commission in the Presidency led by
It is widely expected that they will tussle not only over state purse strings, but also the central questions
of where in the economy to invest, whether the rural areas can become a source of jobs and growth, and
therefore whether or not to retain existing approaches to industrial policy and spatial development.
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A number of other changes to the ministries will affect the rural areas. Water Affairs and Forestry
becomes Water and Environment. Environmental Affairs and Tourism becomes simply Tourism.
Provincial and Local Government becomes Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. And a new
Ministry for Women, Youth, Children and People with Disability -- what one might term "the ministry for
nearly everyone" -- has been established to deal with these groups who predominate among the poor in
both urban and rural areas.
How all of these institutions and mandates can be harnessed to respond to rural poverty, unemployment
and underdevelopment remains very unclear -- but it is likely that the Ministry for Rural Development
and Land Reform will need to take the lead in providing some overarching coherence.
Are all of these new institutional arrangements an apt response to the seemingly intractable problems of
rural underdevelopment and economic exclusion?
Separating Land Reform from Agriculture
Separating responsibility for agriculture and land reform into separate ministries is a surprising move,
apparently at odds with the ANC's manifesto promise to "Ensure a much stronger link between land and
agrarian reform programmes" (ANC 2009:9).
There is disagreement on whether it is a good thing or not.
The separation of the two has been welcomed by some in the agricultural establishment who, pointing to
dips in output on redistributed farms, see land reform as a threat to commercial farming, which they wish
to see insulated from the reform process.
In this view, there are two types of agriculture - commercial and subsistence - and the agriculture
department should be freed up to focus on commercial farming, rather than the new and poorer farmers on
redistributed land and in the former Bantustans - whose type and scale of farming, and therefore whose
needs, might differ substantially.
In this view, the main virtue of this new Cabinet arrangement is that it ensures that land reform happens at
the margins of mainstream commercial agriculture.
On the other hand, the new Cabinet has drawn a more critical response from rural people's organisations
and lobby groups. Their main objection is that the core problem facing land reform has not only been its
slow pace - just 5% of commercial farmland was redistributed in the past 15 years -- but the extremely
poor level of support for new, small and cash-strapped farmers who have been settled on this land.
Agriculture, they insist, should be integrated with land reform and should be at the heart of rural
development. Separating agriculture from both rural development and land reform, then, is to move in the
Yet if one considers the track record of the past decade or so, responsibilities for agriculture and land
reform have never been effectively integrated, despite being in the same ministry since 1996. None of the
three ministers of Agriculture and Land Affairs were able to solve this problem while they were
responsible for both departments. And land reform has been crippled as a result.
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The blame for the dismal track record of production on redistributed farms must fall largely on the
national and provincial departments of agriculture, which have simply failed to come to the party. Despite
the introduction of some agricultural support and funds for land reform beneficiaries in recent years, the
agriculture departments have remained biased in favour of commercial farming and unsupportive of
smallholder farming and the production systems of the poor.
Less than one in 20 land reform beneficiaries have benefited at all from either Comprehensive
Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) grants or Micro Agricultural Finance Institutions of South
Africa (MAFISA) loans. And land alone does not produce livelihoods or development.
Dualism and the "missing middle"
The notion of a need for "integration" of land reform with agriculture, though, fails to capture the scale of
the challenge. It elides the fundamentally political tension between promoting business-as-usual growth in
the productive sectors of the economy (agriculture, forestry, fisheries) and restructuring them through a
thoroughgoing redistribution of assets and wealth.
Land and agriculture have been caught up in the contradictions of government programmes that address
the problem of "dualism" by dealing with each of the so-called "two economies" separately. They have
fallen victim to this way of thinking, and have perpetuated it.
As a result, state policy has become bifurcated in recent years. On the one hand, transformation of
commercial agriculture is now largely pursued through joint ventures, strategic partnerships and black
economic empowerment (BEE) deals that deracialise ownership but leave patterns of production and
employment - and ultimately the impact on the economy -- largely unchanged.
This has been most evident where land claims on high-value farmland have been settled, increasingly
with the proviso that the claimants neither live on nor farm their land, but enter into partnerships (often
with the previous owners) through long-term leases or joint ventures to ensure continuity of production.
But this also involves continuity in other areas: while having a stake in commercial farms, claimants
remain in overcrowded conditions in communal areas, reliant on uncertain future dividend payments, and
usually no new jobs are created.
At the other end of the spectrum, the demand for land and farming opportunities by the poor,
compounded by the sharp increase in food prices over the past 18 months, has spawned initiatives to
support food production by the poor, often in the form of "starter packs" of seed and implements. This
response, driven by provincial departments of agriculture, can be characterised as food security through
self-provisioning on a micro scale -- an approach reiterated in the ANC's manifesto in which it commits to
expand food production among the poor, including community schemes to produce food "in schools,
health facilities, churches and urban and traditional authority areas" (ANC 2009:11).
Addressing direct consumption needs is an important and overdue response to poverty and hunger but,
while it is likely to have popular appeal, it is ultimately limited. First, without redistributing land and
water for agriculture, "own production" by the poor via starter packs, particularly in urban areas, is
unlikely to be at the scale required to be a workable solution to food insecurity.
Second, the poor are to produce -- but at the margins rather than in the commercial farming heartland. In
no way will this change who profits from producing and selling food, or pose a challenge to the large
players who dominate the market: the big farmers, the agribusinesses and supermarkets, but also the
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oligopolistic agro-food processors and manufacturers that have been able to fix prices and raise food
It is of course important both to deal with the worst excesses of rural hunger and to deracialise
commercial farming (and farmers). But so far, redistributive measures seem peripheral to the overriding
trends towards capital-intensive farming, job shedding, and consolidation of both land and agricultural
capital in fewer hands -- trends that are antithetical to rural development. And neither approach tackles
the really contentious work of restructuring the "core economy" in recognition that its dynamics generate
poverty and exclusion.
Between these poles of food security gardens and big commercial farms is a "missing middle": the
untapped potential for smallholder farmers who want to produce for their own consumption and for a
market. Existing approaches have failed to create opportunities for such people. And the most likely
candidates -- the approximately four million "semi-subsistence" and 200 000 small and medium-scale
producers -- are in the communal areas of the former Bantustans, which have attracted the least
agricultural (and infrastructural) support and investment.
A serious approach to food security would enable them to produce and market on non-exploitative terms,
to bypass (or transform) the mass retail markets in which just four large supermarkets dominate, and to
benefit from rising food prices.
This bifurcation emerges from assumptions in conceptions of "development" that underpin many past
government policies, and a bias which equates commercialisation (and industrialised production at scale)
with development - even when this aggravates patterns of economic exclusion. The dualistic thinking that
results is evident also in other sectors of the economy on which rural people depend. Look at fisheries,
forestry and water, for instance.
In fisheries, the allocation of quotas has favoured larger companies. Transformation policies have focused
on increasing BEE shareholding within these, which has been done with some success, as well as
allocations of smaller quotas to black entrepreneurs who, because these were insufficient, tended to sell
these "paper quotas" on to the larger companies.
Litigation in 2007 against unfair quotas successfully prompted a new focus on small-scale or "artisanal"
fishers in poor coastal communities, whose allocations have since been increased. Yet both the quota
system and the inability to secure larger fishing vessels and equipment due to financial constraints and
also to some extent business skills prevent these small fishers from expanding their scale of extraction,
and limit them to fishing at a lower level and delivering what they catch to the established companies for
So while reallocation of quotas has made some contribution to alleviating poverty, it has only aimed to
enable the most marginal to subsist and, as in agriculture, the real money is made in downstream activities
like processing and marketing, where ownership remains highly concentrated.
The structure of the sector is intact: the (deracialising) top-end of fishing companies and processors still
dominate the market and, as long as fishing communities are prevented from scaling up to become
independent operators with the ability to process and sell their own harvests, are unaffected by the
provision of rights to the poor.
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In the forestry sector, the centrepiece of transformation has been the creation of a BEE sector charter, still
in the early stages of implementation, which aims to force the small handful of dominant market players
to bring black partners on board.
So far this has brought little benefit either to workers or people living on or near private and state forests.
"Empowerment" in the sector has mostly taken the form either of narrow BEE shareholding or
externalising risk through converting employment on timber estates into (often insecure) contracting
The unbundling of state forests has promoted the growth of large companies with BEE shareholding,
while provisions to transfer smaller state plantations in communal areas to rural communities to be
cultivated as "woodlots" are yet to be implemented.
The one area where production by the poor is on the rise is through outgrower schemes where they
produce for and sell to the large companies like Sappi and Mondi.
With regards to water, reforms to separate the ownership of land from the ownership of water rights is yet
to be fully thought through or implemented, and so large farmers and agroindustries (as well as mines)
continue to dominate the use of scarce water resources in rural areas.
Once trading in water rights gets under way, as provided for in the Water Act, it is expected that
commercial interests -- both agricultural and mining -- will buy up these rights from poor communities.
Meanwhile, important initiatives to rehabilitate irrigation in the former Bantustans -- such as the
Revitalisation of Smallholder Irrigation Schemes (RESIS) in Limpopo -- have focused on
"commercialisation", often as part of ambitious (and risky) joint ventures for the production of cash crops
like cotton and tobacco which have tended to land marginal farmers in stifling debt.
Small to medium producers aiming to produce at a level beyond household subsistence have been stymied
by a ceiling on allocations for subsistence (so-called "Schedule One") water use.
Put simply, many of these policies have aimed to deracialise the "first economy" without transforming it,
and so entrench the class relations that produce exploitation and marginality -- which gets called the
"second economy". Too little attention has been given to dismantling the divides between the two and so
those eking out survival on the margins are prevented from filling the 'missing middle'.
The stark contrast between wealth and poverty that former president Thabo Mbeki once described as "two
economies" has in many respects been made even starker by the very policies his government pursued.
Will Zuma's government continue on this path?
Back to his new Cabinet, then: the imminent danger is that MAFF will focus on these productive sectors
of agriculture, forestry and fisheries with a view to stimulating 'business-as-usual' growth, both to respond
to local demand and to develop export markets, while MRDLR is saddled with addressing rural poverty,
without reshaping these key sectors in which the poor participate, often in marginal ways - in other words,
that the two ministries replicate the dualism of the so-called 'first' and 'second' economies. MAFF will
deal with "wealth" and "growth" for commercial farming, forestry and fisheries while MRDLR will deal
with the former Bantustans. This division of labour must be avoided.
Rethinking rural development
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What is needed now is fresh thinking about the future of rural South Africa and a vision which confronts
the still-stark divides within the commercial farming heartland of former "white RSA" as well as between
it and the "Bantustans" -- and aims to transform both of them.
The core challenge is to enable large numbers of the rural poor to participate in economic activities -- to
produce, process and market -- on beneficial terms in order to enable employment (including self-
employment) for the rural poor, not only welfare. This would reduce rural poverty and create new
livelihoods and jobs, but also set South Africa on a different and more appropriate growth path.
Taking charge of such an ambitious and all-encompassing plan for the rural areas must be a new "Rural
Cluster" that includes the two ministries but also the economic powerhouse of government: Treasury,
Economic Development, and the National Planning Commission. Unless this happens, MRDLR will be
relegated to junior status within the Cabinet and within government's agenda; it will be expected to
achieve the impossible and rendered toothless -- and will be little more than a latter day department of
native affairs, brought back from the apartheid past.
The central position that rural development now occupies in the thinking of government draws attention
to the multidimensional nature of rural people's livelihoods -- a recognition that land reform cannot be
entirely about agriculture, that people want and need land for a variety of purposes, and that rural people
participate in a variety of economic activities for their survival.
But the new ministry charged with rural development (as well as land reform) will have to deal with
logistical and institutional problems in defining its remit -- and it will have to confront the potential for
duplication with the tasks of other line ministries as it focuses on rural (and agricultural) land reform,
rural job creation, rural infrastructure, rural housing, rural transport, rural education, rural health, and so
There is no coherent policy to frame rural development, and there will inevitably be confusion as this new
ministry attempts to delimit a coherent boundary to its work and establish sensible and cooperative
relations with other line departments.
Top priority therefore is for a collaborative initiative to develop overarching rural development policy,
which was lacking under the previous administration, and to place the dynamic sub-sectors of real wealth
in the rural economy at its centre.
What are the policy alternatives?
Core to rural development will be the redistribution of both land and water for agriculture, to make
possible the expansion of incomes from employment and self-employment, in particular, and promoting
low-input small-scale primary production of food for consumption and sale. The greatest potential for
small farmers of fresh produce is in the high-potential regions of KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga
and the Western Cape, in particular.
Practical interventions are needed to support smaller farmers as well as the emergence of a "missing
middle" of producers able to market their surplus in local - or even national -- markets. The "Rural
Cluster" must promote and invest in:
" Redistribution of land and water rights in areas of high demand;
" Irrigation for small-scale horticulture, including through the creation of infrastructure for rainwater
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" Agricultural co-operatives for input supply, processing and marketing;
" Fencing for smallholder farmers in communal areas, as well as in transport and sorting, packing and
"Fresh produce markets in towns and villages as outlets for producers of small surpluses of fruit and
"Affordable, subsidised interest rates for credit from, and competent management in, the Land Bank.
These will require support for subdivision of larger properties to make possible smallholder units,
revamping of agricultural extension services, the resuscitation of targeted subsidies for inputs and
implements, public support for smallholders to extend into value-adding, particularly in sectors that
provide highly seasonal patterns of income and labour demand and, perhaps most importantly, a
combination of regulation and incentives to counter the monopolistic character of food processing and
Interventions such as these have the potential to support food production by the poor (facilitating
household food security) and at the same time promote rural entrepreneurs who can engage in
"accumulation from below". Poverty reduction and kick-starting a new rural growth path must be
compatible, not "either-or" options.
The dynamics (and class relations) that produce wealth for some produce poverty and exclusion for
others. But this does not mean that we should have policies for the rich and policies for the poor,
ministries for the rich and ministries for the poor. High-level coordination will be needed to ensure that
the new ministries build an equitable regime of people's rights to natural resources, which is a
precondition for emergence and survival (let alone success) of small and medium-scale farmers (and
foresters and fishers) who can and want to produce for themselves and for a market.
South Africa has been described as having "two economies", but it is more accurate to characterise it as
having one integrated economy which is unequal, fragmented and segmented. The implications are now
starting to be seriously explored. Breaking this cycle of economic exclusion is the focus of the
Presidency's new Second Economy Strategy that was produced in early 2009, which emphasises the need
for employment creation "from below" in the rural areas, including through micro-enterprise and self-
employment in smallholder agriculture and cooperatives.
The new political priority placed on rural development is a great opportunity and new approaches are
urgently needed. Rural development must not be limited to ad hoc and localised "projects". A new policy
framework must set out an ambitious agenda for structural change in the key rural economic sectors. It
must change the ways in which the poor participate in, own, control, use, and produce in the rural
economy and enable new pathways of production and accumulation.
Ruth Hall is a senior researcher at the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the
University of the Western Cape (see www.plaas.org.za). Thanks to Andries du Toit, Barbara Tapela,
Moenieba Isaacs, Ben Cousins, Mafaniso Hara and Karin Kleinbooi for comments and suggestions on
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2009 07 31 Land restitution: Dig up commission’s crop of claim chaos so SA can grow
THE Restitution of Land Rights Commission has over the years made a great number of claims about
what it has accomplished since 1996. Despite retractions and the amendment of published results, the
commission’s figures reflect the settlement of about 10000 “rural claims”. On May 30, the commission
reported that there were still 4296 “rural claims” to be settled.
Unfortunately, those statistics could be at best called wishful and, at worst, a dangerous
The numbers of ostensibly settled “rural claims” bear no resemblance to the number of actually settled
claims in which rural land was restored to communities. In 2003, research by the Institute for Poverty,
Land and Agrarian Studies found that rural land had been restored in only 68 cases. In 2005, the Legal
Resources Centre assessed the commission’s June 2004 “cumulative statistics”. From these, it became
clear that only 152 communities had received rural land in settlement. Based on these assessments and
other independent review reports, we estimate that to date, no more than 300 community claims have
been settled in which rural land was transferred.
Why are these numbers so disparate? The problem, with its host of attendant negative consequences, is to
be found in the persistently incorrect way in which the commission has classified and dealt with claims.
While the commission has persisted in incorrectly distinguishing between urban claims and rural claims,
the Constitution and Restitution of Land Rights Act of 1994 divides claims instead into “claims by
communities”, and “claims by persons”. While there may be practical reasons for distinguishing between
urban and rural claims, it has no basis in law. The consequences of using the incorrect categorisation
unfortunately go far beyond skewing the statistics.
The right for anyone to make a claim comes from section 25(7) of the constitution. It provides that a
person or community is entitled to claim the return of land if they were dispossessed after June 19 1913 as
a result of racially discriminatory laws or practices. The Restitution Act then provides for the steps and
criteria required for a person or a community to claim.
Under the legal category of “claim by a person”, a dispossessed person that meets the legal criteria in
terms of the act may file a claim or, if he or she has passed away, the longest surviving direct descendants
per line of succession of the deceased person may file a claim as co-claimants. If this person or people are
successful, then, failing another arrangement, the land will be restored to either the originally
dispossessed person (who becomes the owner), or to the surviving descendants (who then become co-
owners). Such a claim, irrespective of the number co-claimants, counts as one claim.
The requirements and legal basis for the award of land in a “community claim” are vastly different from a
claim by a person. In terms of the Restitution Act, a community may claim land if, at the time of
dispossession, the land was held in common by the community and the rights of the community members
to access the land were derived from shared rules. Such a claim, irrespective of the number of community
members, counts as one claim as well.
159 2009_Newspaper clippings: Land reform. Prepared by Karin Kleinbooi, PLAAS
A further difference is if land is restored, the land will not vest in the names of the individual community
members as co-owners. The community, as the single claimant, becomes the sole owner. The right that a
community member may be awarded to use or benefit from the land after a successful claim is then
granted by the community, not the commission, and is therefore fundamentally different from the rights
of a co-claimant.
While the Restitution Act provides for the verification of claims by people or by communities, the
determination of the membership of a dispossessed community is more complex, simply because
membership of a community is not frozen in time. Once a restitution award has been made to a
community, the community will be entitled to determine and then allocate land rights and benefits to its
members in terms of its rules (which must also comply with the requirements of the act).
Thus, the commission is not only getting the categorisation wrong, but it is failing to apply the law. The
consequences of the failure are far reaching.
In 2004, the commission embarked on a drive to speed up restitution by “verifying” claims. The
commission’s researchers correctly applied the criteria for claims by a person. They sought to establish
the identity of direct descendents to the originally dispossessed individuals by tracing whether those
claiming the land were truly the longest surviving direct descendents. Birth and death certificates were
examined and family trees were constructed to determine the basis upon which land would be awarded,
should the claim be successful.
Where the commission committed its great blunder was to simply ignore investigating whether
communities, when making a claim, previously held the land in common and determined access to it on
the basis of shared rules. Instead, the commission applied the criteria reserved for claims by a person to
claims that were lodged by communities.
The commission then started informing communities of their membership, as consisting of “claimants” as
the direct descendants of the individuals who formed the community at the time of dispossession, rather
than allowing the community to determine membership. The commission did this by determining direct
descendents based on family trees — and then presented these “claimants” also as “members”.
This improper application has also caused uncertainty about the identity of community membership on
two grounds. Communities are faced with having to include people as “members” who had not associated
themselves with the community and who were not accepted as members — purely because of descent
(which may span up to six generations); and exclude people who, while not related by blood or marriage,
had become accepted as part of the community subsequent to the removal. Furthermore, if taken to its
logical conclusion, the community would have no say in the distribution of rights or access to the land
once the claim is successful.
The commission’s actions have made the gathering of relevant statistics of land restitution impossible.
The true horror of the situation is that there is currently no certainty how many valid community claims
have been made or settled, how many community members are involved (even potentially) or how much
land is involved, and where the land is situated. To give a sense of the scale of the problem and the
urgency for ensuring its resolution: there are assertions that 70% of Limpopo province is under claim.
Mondi , the largest forest-owning concern in SA, has stated that 48% of its land is under claim. Similarly
large swaths of sugar cane plantations are under claim. Yet we do not know the extent to which land
claims are affecting agriculture and industry in SA.
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The incorrect classification of land claims fundamentally affects the rights of community claim
beneficiaries on such a scale that unless the entire restitution process is re-appraised, efforts to conclude
restitution in the rural areas are doomed to failure. In fact, the future of the country depends upon the
proper restoration of dispossessed land, lest the wounds of SA’s racially discriminatory past never heal.
It is against this distressing backdrop that new Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile
Nkwinti’s vision for restitution as part of the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme comes as
excellent news. Last month, Nkwinti committed his department to providing “an analysis of outstanding
claims (nature and type) and indicate related challenges and how these should be addressed to speed up
finalisation”, and to “clearly indicate what is possible by the year 2011 and what, if any, will be
Nkwinti’s statement heralds the much- needed sane approach, in contrast with that taken by the
government in past years.
- Pienaar is regional director at the Legal Resources Centre.
2009 08 02 Wine estate sows land reform seeds
DRIVING FORCE: Spier owner Adrian Enthoven - ‘We are making it up as we go along. Right in the
middle of meetings we reinvent the story’
The Spier estate and Stellenbosch municipality have forged an innovative deal that gives the landless
access to farms
Wine tycoon and philanthropist Adrian Enthoven and subsistence vegetable farmer Peter Stone have
about as much in common as champagne and diesel oil.
Enthoven is a member of one of SA’s wealthiest families and owner of Spier, one of the country’s award-
winning wine estates near Stellenbosch, while Stone is a hands-on farmer with dirt under his nails.
But now the two men are unlikely neighbours — thanks to a major land deal in the winelands, the first of
its kind and potentially a model for future projects countrywide.
Rather than tilling Enthoven’s soil — as Stone did for several years — the straight-talking boer from
Jamestown, outside Stellenbosch, is now one of 13 farmers to be allocated a lease on a 5ha allotment on a
hilltop portion of municipal common land.
The deal is about to be formalised, with the Stellenbosch municipality — which owns the land —
expected to grant final approval this month.
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Spier previously leased the 65ha of municipal land from Stellenbosch council, but gave up the lease in
2003 and assisted the farmers by paying their rental and water charges of R150000 a year. Spier also
donated tools and equipment to get the farmers started.
The municipality recently agreed to reduce the rental and to support a R10-million infrastructure upgrade
project financed by the national Department of Land Affairs.
The subsistence farmers, who formed a collective, the Stellenbosch Small Farm Holdings Trust, grow
everything from fancy lettuce to organic strawberries.
Escorting the Sunday Times around his land this week, Stone said: “For eight years we struggled. We’ve
learnt a lot. We proved to them (the council and Spier) that we could survive.”
The small-scale farmers, mainly farm labourers, spent the years leading up to the deal working land
belonging to Spier.
Although Enthoven this week chose to stay out of the limelight, his colleagues highlighted his role as
crucial to the project’s success.
Spier’s sustainability director, Tanner Methvin, said: “Adrian’s role is not one of passive acceptance of
these initiatives, but very much an enthusiastic driver of these initiatives. For him land reform has always
been very important and he has always wanted to make sure that Spier is playing a meaningful role in the
land reform movement in Stellenbosch.”
But the subsistence farmers would still be picking other people’s grapes if it wasn’t for years of behind-
the-scenes work by a large team of lawyers and town planners, including Stellenbosch mayor Patrick
Swartz, who said more land would be made available.
Swartz said: “It is one of my major programmes in my term to make more land available to previously
“By us looking at using the land resources we have, we are actually killing two birds with one stone,
alleviating poverty and unemployment and at the same time addressing the issue of a balance in land
ownership (between black and white).”
The Stellenbosch municipality is the seventh-richest non-metropolitan municipality in the country — one
of the reasons being its considerable commonage land holdings of 1700ha, worth in the vicinity of R1.5-
billion. Much of the land is tied up in commercial farm leases similar to the one Spier held.
Land reform experts this week said the project was testimony to what could be achieved if stakeholders
pooled their resources.
The land transfer was so unusual that policymakers had to come up with brand-new policy frameworks.
One of the project leaders, Professor Mark Swilling of Stellenbosch University, said: “We are making it
up as we go along. Right in the middle of meetings we reinvent the story.”
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2009 08 06 Digging in to reverse land reform shambles
ON A recent visit to KwaZulu-Natal, I was taken by Landless People's
Movement leader Mangaliso Kubheka up a hill near Newcastle for a bird's-eye
view of the surrounding farms. Every inch he pointed to - over 100 cattle
ranches - was covered by a giant land claim, lodged by a community
dispossessed under racist laws that cleared blacks from areas designated
white by the apartheid government.
Under post-apartheid restitution law these people are entitled to get their
land back as long as dispossession took place after 1913 and they had lodged
their claim by the end of 1998.
After investigating their claim, the Land Claims Commission decided they
were entitled to 43 properties, transferring two small farms and an abattoir
two years ago. These were supposed to form the nucleus of a much larger,
thriving commercial cattle-ranching and meat-production enterprise, expected
to lift hundreds of claimant families out of poverty by creating jobs and
It wasn't long before things fell apart. Different factions emerged within
the claimant community. Some demanded the right to build houses and graze
their own cattle on the land, which could never sustain all the claimants,
even at subsistence level. Meanwhile, warlords from nearby communal areas -
apartheid's overcrowded dumping grounds that quickly turned into poverty
traps for rural blacks - spotted an opportunity for low-cost meat production
and started instigating land invasions.
Today, a few scrawny cattle nibble on wild grass, and there is no sign of
So far, community leaders, including Kubheka, have used persuasion to
prevent full-scale land invasions. But once the remaining 39 farms are
transferred he expects a dramatic escalation of violent clashes over grazing
and squatting rights, and the wholesale plunder of farm equipment and
infrastructure. In short, he foresees a total breakdown of the rule of law,
the real nightmare of land reform gone horribly wrong.
This scenario is already playing itself out in various parts of the country
where large swathes of commercial farmland were transferred to claimant
communities. Apart from entrenching rural poverty, it feeds the perceptions
of conservative whites that efforts to reverse racially skewed land
ownership patterns are doomed . But the root cause of this failure - the
disastrous way the government implemented land restitution - is reversible.
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Under intense political pressure to wrap up in five years a complicated
process that was always going to take decades, the Land Claims Commission
has made several colossal blunders. The first lies in the commission's
failure to distinguish community from individual claims. When claims are
lodged by individuals it's easy to establish who's entitled to restitution:
the person dispossessed under racist laws, or their nearest direct
The law also allows a community to lay claim to ancestral land lost under
apartheid, but only if its members held common rights to it under shared
rules at the time of dispossession. The land should therefore be restored to
a finite group that lodged the claim. But instead of allowing claimant
communities to determine their own membership, the commission's researchers
constructed family trees sometimes stretching six generations for
descendants of community claimants. It thereby set itself the impossible
task of tracking down former communities members who had migrated to
different parts of the country over many decades. Distant relatives who'd
lost touch with the community could also suddenly lay claim to their
"ancestral land", whereas people still part of the original dispossessed
group, but without direct blood ties, were excluded.
The second blunder was to transfer land to communities without first
defining their rights to use and occupy it. "They just say: here is your
land, sort it out yourselves," says Kubheka, contrasting this with Brazil's
land reforms, where millions of landless peasants were given title to
For the commission, the prospect of untangling this mess must be daunting.
But it must be given the time and resources to do the job. The alternative
is to plunge affected rural districts into economic decline and violent
conflict for decades to come .
- Hofstatter is contributing editor.