The national governing African National Congress (ANC) must use its summit on land reform this weekend in the Western Cape to answer key questions regarding farm land, a senior official from the Democratic Alliance which runs the province said on Friday.
The ANC has organised a provincial land summit at Stellenbosch University, where it is expected to engage Western Cape communities and stakeholders on land redistribution.
“As the ANC in the Western Cape holds its land summit this weekend, there are some key questions pertaining to agricultural land which must be raised, and which we hope that they will be able to provide answers to, following their deliberations,” DA’s Alan Winde said.
“The ANC has in recent months expressed its commitment to land reform; however, one needs to question this commitment given that just 0.1% of the national budget is set aside for land reform.”
More than two decades after the end of racially divisive apartheid rule, one of the trickiest problems for the ANC is how to transfer large tracts of prime agricultural land owned by the white minority to millions of blacks from whose ancestors it was grabbed by white settlers centuries ago.
The issue has become central ahead of general elections next year.
“Here in the Western Cape, the department of rural development and land reform only have enough funding to buy three farms in the province in the 2018/19 year,” Winde said.
He said land reform beneficiaries should own their land outright, but under the current system were given 30 to 50 year leases, turning them into permanent tenants rather than land owners.
“Coupled with this, many beneficiaries have not yet received these leases, making it almost impossible for them to secure any additional funding to finance their business through loans,” said Winde.
He urged the ruling party to answer questions about its plans to expropriate land without paying compensation.
“Will beneficiaries be owners of the land? If not, does the ANC intend to deal with leasing, given the current failings in the system?” asked Winde.