The year of the Freedom Charter and unity in action to aance economic freedom! Forward with radical socio-economic transformation!
Ministers and Deputy Ministers present
Manene nani Manenekazi
It is a privilege to participate in this debate following the Minister, honourable Gugile Nkwinti.
In this department we are dealing with the issue of land, and land is the key to ensuring that the long, sad story of colonialism and apartheid in our country, has a happy ending.
Central to the work of our department is the National Development Plan (NDP), which has been endorsed by the majority of parties in our country to guide us to 2030. Chapter 6 of the NDP – “An integrated and inclusive rural economy” is the goal that we pursue.
Honourable members, a leading question at this time is “Do those of you, who in the past have said ‘I support the NDP’ truly mean it? I mention this since, on Monday night, the 4th of May, the honourable Leader of the Opposition, who previously pledged his loyalty to the NDP, appeared on television saying,
“I do not support everything that is on the NDP, of course there are elements of it that are flawed, that are wrong. For example, the focuses on how we do land reform, there are some challenges there.”
This contradicts his outgoing leader, Helen Zille, who said:
“.. the Western Cape is prepared to move beyond this highly successful model to pilot the NDP’s proposal. We are very keen to participate with all role-players to make it succeed, and to make people who work the land, the owners of land.”
It appears that the opposition cannot decide whether they support the NDP or not. For us there is not confusion, we are busy implementing it.
Chapter 6 of the NDP sets a target of transferring 20% of agricultural land to black people by 2030.
20% of the 82 million hectares of agricultural land translates into 16.4 million hectares. From 1994 to December 2014 the state transferred 7.5 million hectares, or 46% of the 16.4m hectares, to black farmers. Of the 7.5 million hectares already transferred, 4.4 million hectares were redistributed land and 3.1 million hectares was restitution in settlement of land claims.
To meet the NDP target we need to transfer another 8.9 million hectares of agricultural land by 2030.
Since 2009, government has acquired 1.76 million hectares of land. For the 201415 financial year, the department acquired 209 580 hectares, at a cost of R1.2 billion.
For the current 201516 financial year we intend acquiring 208 350 hectares at a cost of R1.253 billion. Of this, R141.19 million will be spent on acquiring land for farm dwellers, and R132.19 million for labour tenants.
The intention of land acquisition is to recreate the class of black commercial farmers which was deliberately destroyed by the 1913 Natives Land Act and similar colonial and apartheid laws.
In his State of the Nation address, his Excellency President Zuma outlined a nine point plan to ignite growth and create jobs. The second of the nine points is “Revitalising agriculture and the agro-processing value chain.”
This is the context in which the department is implementing and refining the Recapitalisation and Development Program (RADP). The RADP was launched in 2010 with the objectives of:
increasing agricultural production
guaranteeing food security
graduating small farmers into commercial farmers, and
creating employment opportunities in the agricultural sector.
The programme was designed to help struggling land reform farms that have received insufficient support, but have the potential to become successful. These farms were supposed to receive technical and financial support from the department.
Since the inception of this programme, R3.2 billion has been spent on recapitalisation.
The Department of Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency conducted a review of RADP and made proposals to make the program more effective. The Portfolio Committee has been briefed on the findings, challenges and the turn-around plan.
There are numerous success stories, some of which were related during the Portfolio Committee public hearings.
For example, Selami Poultry in Dr Kenneth Kaunda district which received RADP money, now has a contract with Supreme Poultry to whom they sold over 270 000 birds in December 2013. The average weight per Selami Poultry chicken was more than the industry average.
The Mont Piquet farm near Piketberg in the Western Cape is another example of resounding success. Exports of table grapes have increased, season to season, and are exported to more than 50 countries. There are 34 beneficiaries and approximately 600 temporary employees. These are just a few instances of success. There are many more good stories to tell.
Much attention has been given to ensure that we make well considered decisions on the selection of farms to be acquired, and the beneficiaries of allocated farms, as well as which farms to recapitalise. The National Land Allocation and Recapitalisation Control Committee – NLARCC – was established in 2013 to:
Ensure that Land Reform proposals for acquisition, allocation, recapitalisation and development are consistent with government policy have the support of all the necessary role-players and stakeholders, and will contribute favourably towards local economic and social development
Ensure inter-departmental co-ordination, co-operation and budgetary alignment, so that the farms we acquire and recapitalise become projects of the whole department.
We intend to put what we have learned from the land acquisition and the recapitalisation and development programs to good use when we establish the Agri-Parks, also announced by his Excellency the President in the SONA.
The department has put aside R2 billion for the Agri-Parks. Of this:
R626,3 million will be used for acquisition of 185 000 hectares of strategically located land for small holder farmers who will produce within the Agri-Parks.
R362,8 million for Recapitalisation and development of farms which form part of the Agri-Parks.
Money will also be allocated for production of key commodities identified in the APAP for the Agri-Parks, by rural producers outside of the land reform farms. This includes rural village-based producers and owners of their own land.
As you can see, the work on establishing the Agri-Parks is already under way.
In addition state land has been identified and allocated for the Animal and Veld Management Program and the River Valley Catalytic Program.
We are also acting on another NDP proposal, the creation of District Land Committees which we are now calling District Land Reform Committees (DLRCs) which,
“will be responsible for identifying 20 percent of the commercial agricultural land in the district and giving commercial farmers the option of assisting its transfer to black farmers.”
In our budget vote last year we said we would establish these committees and we are pleased to report that so far we have established them in 40 of the 44 districts and hope to complete the process in weeks.
In order to implement the NDP’s recommendations these committees will:
identify farms suitable for acquisition by government
aise the Minister on the strategic support needs of such farms
identify and interview potential candidates for farm allocation
aise the Minister on strategic support needs of recommended candidates, and,
aise the Minister on resolving land rights conflicts.
The department wants to ensure that these committees are representative of all key interest groups in each district, including organisations of established farmers, organisations of emerging farmers, workers’ organisations, municipalities, civil society and a person seconded by the Minister. The Minister will appoint a chairperson after recommendation from the DLRC.
The department will also give administrative and secretariat assistance and training to the committees.
We call on Members of Parliament and the public to monitor the work of these important committees. Let us all take ownership of the implementation of the National Development Plan.
In the current year we will implement new guidelines for the selection of beneficiaries for land reform. These emerged from discussions at the National Land Tenure Summit held in September 2014, which recommended that a credible process be put in place to identify and select emerging farmers deserving support.
Beneficiaries should have ability, passion and commitment to farming. The following categories will apply:
Communal and village subsistence farmers municipal commonage farmers and sustained homestead garden producers.
Agricultural sciences university and college graduates agri-business special course qualifiers, including NARYSEC participants those who have done managerial and entrepreneurial incubation, learnershipsinternships and, agricultural para-professionals.
Category C: (a Special Category):
Women, including single women military veterans people with disabilities and farm workersdwellerstenants.
In addition an electronic beneficiary application system will bring transparency and credibility to the process, reduce fraudulent and corrupt practices and reduce the turnaround time for processing of applications.
Madam Speaker, the average South African farmer is 62 years of age. For this reason we have recently created an incubation programme for agricultural graduates. They will be linked to land reform farms as part of a mentorship programme to enable them to become either farmers, or experts in the agricultural sector. The DLRCs will keep a database of potential candidates.
Honourable members, The Land Tenure Administration branch amongst other tasks, must implement:
The proposed policy framework on Strengthening of the Relative Rights of Farm Workers (50-50) through pilot projects in collaboration with organised agriculture. These projects will be piloted with farmers who have volunteered to be part of the program.
The revival of evictions monitoring structures in “hot spot” provinces, in collaboration with sector role players. The department also provides legal assistance to farm workers facing eviction.
The improvement of governance in Common Property Institutions and bringing the land back into production. Of the 7.3 million hectares of land acquired since 1994, only 1.8 million hectares falls under the proactive land acquisition strategy. The rest falls under Communal Property Institutions. Given the size of the assets under their control and their importance for the land reform process, the governance of these structures is crucial.
The Transformation of Certain Rural Areas Act (Trancraa): A task team has been established comprising representatives of the affected communities, municipalities, NGOs and the department, to assist in selecting projects and transferring land to their rightful owners. The aim is to speed up this process.
Honourable members I turn now to Land Claims.
In the 201415 financial year 144 406 hectares and R1 billion in financial compensation was awarded to 78 600 beneficiaries from 15 456 households. This year the commission aims to settle 1445 claims. Emphasis will also be placed on researching claims received in the first lodgement period.
To cope with the number of claims the Commission is receiving in the current lodgement period, an electronic lodgment system has been developed. Claims can be submitted at any of the 14 lodgment offices located in the nine provinces.
The commission has also procured mobile lodgment offices, in the form of buses equipped with technology to process applications for land claims on site. Two all-terrain trucks have been acquired to support the mobile offices. As a result the Commission is able to reach the most remote areas of our country, and has prepared a schedule of communities to be visited over the next four years. Yesterday I was at the launch of the mobile offices in Libode in the Eastern Cape.
We have made good progress with the 2nd phase of the Land Audit. The focus of Phase 2 of Land Audit will be on individuals who own 48,2% of the country’s land – 46.5 million hectares. The exercise will determine ownership in terms of nationality, race, and gender, and will be completed by the end of the calendar year.
As part of the world-wide celebrations of the International Map Year – IMY – planned for the years 2015 and 2016, our Department recently hosted a delegation of Geospatial experts from nine countries, including representatives of the executive committee of the International Cartographic Association.
IMY is a worldwide celebration of maps and their unique role in the world, and is supported by the United Nations. It provides opportunities to demonstrate, follow, and get involved in the art, science and technology of making and using maps and geospatial information. Map literacy is also going to be introduced to National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) in ThabaNchu this year.
Honourable members, we are short of young farmers and we are also short of surveyors. Since 2008 the department has been offering bursaries to aspirant students to obtain qualifications in surveying in order to address the skills shortage to accelerate transformation of the profession, and increase state capacity in functions related to surveying.
The department is currently sponsoring 473 students pursuing degrees and diplomas, of which 157 are females and 316 are males. The bursary fund amounts to R34,4 million.
Amongst the students we have sponsored are two shining stars.
Miss Zinhle Mabaso of the Mangosuthu University of Technology received an academic achievement award from the South African Geomatics Institute (SAGI) for being the best surveying student nationally for the National Diploma: Surveying. And Mr Nhlanhla Mlanduli received an academic achievement award from SAGI for being the Best Final year BSc Land Surveying student at University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Honourable chair, communications plays an important role in accurately portraying the department’s multiple functions by informing the media and citizens. This includes their roles in rural development and land reform initiatives. We are working to improve our communications for the coming year.
Honourable members, our Deeds and geo-matics systems rank among the best in the world. They are however outdated and the modernisation of our cadaster system was initiated two years ago. The process was however suspended in the wake of allegations of maladministration when the contract was awarded. The matter was referred to the Special Investigation Unit (SIU).
The SIU brought a court application against SITA, Gijima and the department based on the irregular award of the tender to Gijima for the application development and back scanning. This process was suspended in December 2014. Subsequently the project has been re-scoped, and the upgrade of the cadaster IT infrastructure is scheduled for completion this year at a cost of R164 million.
Honourable members, Madam Speaker the National Development Plan will not, of itself, develop anything. We need to implement it. It calls on us to locate and transfer almost 9 million hectares of agricultural land in the next 15 years. It needs work, hard work from all of us. Our roles are clear. Every South African needs to work with every other South African, in harmony and in tandem, to achieve just and sustainable reform and a better life for all those who live and work on our land.
Source : South African Government