Land reform not helping blacks

2010-05-27 23:03

Johannesburg - Black South Africans who received land under the country's land reform programme had not reaped the full benefits from the initiative partly due to poor management, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

After the end of apartheid in 1994, the government set a target of handing over 30% of commercial farmland to the black majority by 2014 as part of a plan to correct racial imbalances in land distribution.

Zuma said in response to a question in parliament that the government recognised the land reform programmes implemented so far had not been "entirely sustainable.

"They have not provided the anticipated socio-economic benefits to all the recipients of the programmes," Zuma said.

"Among other things, this is the result of institutional weaknesses in overall land management, policy and legislation."

Zuma said as a result of the problems, the government was finalising a new policy on land reform and would also introduce a Land Tenure Bill to protect the rights of farm workers, farm dwellers and landowners.

He acknowledged last month that the "willing-buyer, willing-seller" model for transferring land was not working and that new methods to speed up the process of giving land to the black majority were needed.

The country's largest farmers group has said it favours land reforms that give an equity stake to farm-hands and warned that plans to force commercial farmers to give up farms will seriously harm investment in agriculture.

The government has failed to meet the 2014 target of transferring commercial farmland to black farmers due to lack of funds to purchase land and so far only about 6% of agricultural land had been shifted to blacks.