South Africa 19.4.2018 12:49 pm

Missed land reform targets trigger further DA attacks on land expropriation

Picture: iStock

Picture: iStock

The department of rural development and land reform achieved 9% of its land reform targets in the third quarter of the financial year 2017/18.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said in a statement today that the land reform process has been dismal, and has been frustrated by the ANC’s “lack of political will and rampant corruption”.

The main opposition in parliament said this was evidenced by the revelations made by the auditor-general (AG) and the department of rural development and land reform in parliament that the department has only achieved 9% of its land reform targets in the third quarter of the financial year 2017/18.

“Overall the department only achieved 36%, with rural development programme only achieving 43% and restitution programme at 50% of targets met,” the DA said.

The department is mandated to purchase and earmark land as well as to identify beneficiaries through the Agriculture Land Holding Account.

“However, this process has been hamstrung by the ANC due to their lack of political will and rampant corruption. Emerging black farmers have been left to fend for themselves as a result of the ANC’s failure to provide continuous training so that they can become enterprising farmers,” the party said.

The DA said this confirms what was pointed out in the high-level panel report that the constraints in land reform was not compensation of land, but rather that “increasing evidence of corruption by officials, the diversion of the land reform budget to elites, lack of political will, and lack of training and capacity have proved more serious stumbling blocks to land reform”.

The joint constitutional review committee has called on written public submissions on the review of section 25 of the constitution to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation.

This comes after a majority of parliamentarians earlier this year voted in favour of an amended Economic Freedom Fighters’ motion on land expropriation without compensation.

“According to an extensive land reform audit conducted in March 2014 by the Western Cape government, a total of 62% of land reform projects driven by the DA government have been successful. This is in stark contrast to the ANC’s failure rate of 90% for land reform projects managed by the ruling party,” the DA’s statement reads.

However, in a Mail and Guardian report, the department of rural development and land reform said the DA’s claim that its implementation of land reform in the Western Cape was better than in other provinces was untrue.

In the article, the department further stated that it was the national government that should be acknowledged for the successes of land redistribution and restitution.

Subsequently, the DA defended its claims and refuted the report in the weekly newspaper.

“The DA is of the view that the ANC’s land reform programme of state custodianship is doomed to fail, as it doesn’t ensure that black people have permanent ownership of the land.

“In truth, the ANC’s expropriation without compensation is merely to hide decades of mismanagement of land reform in South Africa.

“The DA will continue to fight to ensure that the land reform process benefits black South Africans, and we will not buckle to any political pressure by the ANC and the EFF, whose sole aim is to make our people permanent tenants on the land,” the DA said in a statement today.

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