Farmers stunned by new land policy
Mar 14 2010 08:16
Hennie Duvenhage & David van Rooyen, Fin24
Johannesburg - The department of rural development and land reform has kept farmers completely in the dark about plans to declare all productive agricultural land a national asset, an industry body has said.
Agri SA will meet the department about the issue on Monday, even though the plan has already been submitted to the departmental portfolio committee.
In its strategic plan for up to 2013 the department said it is considering the possibility of declaring all productive agricultural land a national asset.
Current owners will then receive rights to use the land on either a temporary or permanent basis.
Hans van der Merwe, chief executive of Agri SA, has said his organisation has not been consulted about this plan.
Two weeks ago when Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Gugile Nkwinti addressed Agri SA's industry conference in Somerset West, he broadly discussed the department's strategic plan but failed to mention anything about changes in land ownership.
Theo de Jager, deputy president of Agri SA and the organisation's spokesperson on land affairs, said what is contained in the strategic plan does not accord with recent discussions held with the departmental representatives.
If this is policy, it will force commercial farmers straight into the trenches, said De Jager.
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Boere maak reg vir baklei
Hennie Duvenhage in Kaapstad en David van Rooyen
Die regering kan heftige teenstand van die landbousektor verwag wanneer ’n afvaardiging van Agri SA môre die departement van grondhervorming ontmoet.
Dié afspraak is lankal gereël.
Die departement van landelike ontwikkeling en grondhervorming het die boere tot dusver heeltemal in die duister gehou oor moontlike planne om alle produktiewe landbougrond tot nasionale bate te ?verklaar, hoewel dit al aan die ?departement se portefeuljekomitee voorgelê is.
Die departement sê in sy strategiese plan tot 2013 hy oorweeg die moontlikheid om alle produktiewe landbougrond tot nasionale bate te verklaar. Die huidige eienaars sal dan op ’n tydelike of permanente grondslag gebruiksreg van die grond hê.
Mnr. Hans van der Merwe, uitvoerende hoof van Agri SA, sê daar is nog nie met hulle enige samesprekings oor dié plan gevoer nie.
Twee weke gelede, toe mnr. Gu?gile Nkwinti, minister van landelike ontwikkeling en grondhervorming, Agri SA se bedryfskonferensie in Somerset-Wes toegespreek het, het hy die departement se ?strategiese plan breedvoerig bespreek, maar nie ’n woord oor enige verandering in grondeienaarskap gerep nie.
Dr. Theo de Jager, adjunkpresident van Agri SA en die organisasie se woordvoerder oor grondsake, sê dit wat in die strategiese plan vervat is, stem nie ooreen met die gesprekke wat die afgelope tyd met verteenwoordigers van die departement gevoer is nie.
“As dit beleid is, jaag dit kommersiële boere van voor af in loopgrawe in,” sê De Jager.
“Dit veroorsaak ’n groot negatiewe uitwerking op landboubeleggings, wat reeds die afgelope vyf jaar gedaal het weens wanadministrasie en onsekerheid oor grondhervorming. Dit is in die pas met die ANC se hantering van water- en mineraleregte.”
Die regering het ook reeds alle mineraleregte tot nasionale bate verklaar en alle rolspelers moes van voor af aansoek doen om hul regte.
Om dié regte te bekom, moes hulle eers aan allerlei bemagtigingsvoorwaardes voldoen.
As produktiewe landbougrond tot nasionale bate verklaar word, is die vraag aan watter voorwaardes boere sal moet voldoen om weer gebruiksreg van of huurpag op hul grond te kry.
Die departement van waterwese het dit ook met die waterregte gedoen en dit is besig om groot probleme vir boere te veroorsaak.
Waterregte word dikwels toegeken aan mense wat niks met landbou te doen het nie, terwyl die boer wie se regte ’n nasionale bate geword het, nie water het om sy lande mee te besproei nie.
Agri SA is reeds betrokke by hofsake oor mineraleregte en die hooggeregshof het reeds beslis dat die regering se optrede op onteiening neerkom en dat boere vergoed moet word vir die verlies van hul mineraleregte.
Die regering het teen die uitspraak geappelleer en die appèlhof se uitspraak daaroor word in Oktober verwag.
Inmiddels het boere tot April tyd om eise oor die verlies van mineraleregte in te dien.
Agri SA het ook al gedreig om die regering oor die verlies van waterregte hof toe te sleep.
Die verlies van eienaarskap van landbougrond kan ook in die hof eindig.
» » » » [Sake 24]
Productive farmers have nothing to fear - Joe Phaahla
Deputy land affairs minister says it is wrong for land to lie idle; while 90% of percent of the 5.9 million hectares of land the state bought for emerging farmers was not productive.
17 March 2010
PARLIAMENT (Sapa) - Farmers using their land productively need not fear the government taking their land, Deputy Rural Development Minister Joe Phaahla said on Wednesday.
All the department wanted to do was come up with a model for land reform, he told journalists after attending a Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) meeting in Parliament.
He was reacting to media reports that the state is considering declaring all productive land a national asset.
"I don't know what the farmers are worried about. There is no threat to take over their farms. There is no change of law. There is no change of the Constitution. There is no change of policy.
"If you are honest owning land, using it productively, contributing to the food security of South Africa... Really it would be a stupid government which would want to interfere with that."
Agricultural unions and farmer organisations on Tuesday demanded clarity on a proposal in the department's Land Reform Strategic Plan that agricultural land become a "national asset", similar to the Chinese communist model in which farmers pay rent to the state, which owns the land.
Phaahla said one of the problems came from "land speculators" holding onto massive tracts of land, waiting for the government to become desperate and pay a high price for it.
"Is it fair to have a situation where I have 100,000 ha of land and I am doing nothing with it, and there are people out there who are hungry and who want to produce food, but they don't have land? Morally that can't be correct.
"Land is a scarce commodity. We must make sure it is put to maximum utilisation."
Phaahla told Scopa earlier that the target to redistribute 30 percent of agricultural land to black people dispossessed of land by the previous dispensation, "still remains" but the plan was not achievable in the current financial year.
"Thirty percent of agricultural land should be redistributed. In terms of how and when it can be achieved, we have put in the current strategic plan for discussion."
He said "a lot" of claims had been finalised, but many remain "not executed in terms of resources available".
The department was involved in "skilling up people" to take over land.
"Where there are farms distributed and people don't have necessary skills, we have engaged Agri SA, we have put out a call for experienced farmers to come forward so that they can be mentors to emerging farmers," he said.
Scopa heard earlier that the department had decided to use 25 percent of the budget for land reform and 25 percent of the restitution budget on "equipment and inputs" to make sure that the farms allocated to previously disadvantaged people were productive.
"We must also make sure what we have already redistributed and restituted is working," he said.
The department's director general Thozi Gwanya told journalists there were "concerning signs" that a number of crop farmers had been selling their land to game farmers.
"It is common in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape," he said.
"This is causing a drop in food production from the people involved in crop farming. It is very concerning."
Agri SA said earlier this week it was planning a workshop with the department of rural development to thrash out its concerns, following a recent meeting.
At this meeting they discussed the "almost total failure" of land reform and farmer development initiatives with about 200 restitution projects requiring urgent attention.
Last year it emerged that more than half the farms bought by the government as part of its land redistribution programme for agricultural development had either failed or fallen into decline.
More than 90 percent of the 5.9 million hectares of land the state bought for emerging farmers was not productive.
This meant that the agricultural sector's portion of the gross domestic product could drop.
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» » [PDF: 05-08-10: N24: Zim: Good Example for SA: How to Do Land Reform Fast - VP Ngucka]
» » [PDF: 08-11-17: IOL: Over 21 Land Reform Farms Lie Abandoned & Derelict (KZN)]
» » [PDF: 09-04-08: M&G: Ostrich Farm A Symbol of SA's Failed Land Reforms (Pta)]
» » [PDF: 10-02-15: N24: Land Reform Laws Pending in SA to be Hastened]
Back to the Future...
Welcome to Zimbabwe...
Zimbabwe to nationalise all farmland
By Angus Shaw, Harare, The Age
June 9, 2004
President Robert Mugabe's government announced plans yesterday to nationalise all Zimbabwean farmland after forcing more than 5,000 white farmers off their properties in an often-violent redistribution program.
Title deeds to all productive land will be cancelled and replaced with 99-year state-issued leases, the state-run Herald newspaper reported.
"In the end all land shall be state land and there shall be no such thing as private land," Land Reform Minister John Nkomo was quoted as saying.
Since 2000, the government has been seizing white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to black Zimbabweans. The controversial program, combined with erratic rains, has crippled the country's agriculture-based economy and sparked political clashes.
Zimbabwe, once a regional breadbasket, now suffers acute shortages of food, hard currency, petrol and other imports. United Nations crop forecasters predict the country will produce only half its food needs this year.
Mugabe, however, argues redistribution is needed to redress British colonial injustices, when much of the best farmland was settled by whites.
About 200,000 black families have been allocated land under the government program, most for small-scale farming. Hundreds of others have bought commercial farms.
The government did not intend to "waste time and money" in disputes with farmers whose land had been seized, regardless of what legal documents they held, Nkomo was quoted as saying in the article.
"Ultimately all land shall be resettled as state property," he said.
Nkomo gave no timeframe for the nationalisation program, but said a National Land Board would be set up to supervise the process and ensure the effective use of land.
He asked current land owners and occupiers to come forward for vetting to qualify for state leases.
Critics of the redistribution program say much of the best farmland has been allocated to Mugabe's supporters and is currently underutilised or lying fallow.
Production on many other farms has dropped sharply because their new owners lack financial resources, seed, fertiliser, fuel and farm machinery.
Nkomo said the state-issued leases would be sufficient collateral for farmers to secure loans to purchase the material and equipment they need.
Independent Harare economist John Robertson disagreed.
"It doesn't work that way," he said. "You can't borrow on the strength of something you don't own."
» » » » [Au: The Age]