Land beneficiaries owed R3.4bn - Nkwinti

2010-07-05 22:23
Cape Town - The government has failed to pay R3.4bn in post-settlement grants to beneficiaries of land reform with potentially damning consequences, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said on Monday.

Recipients in 389 cases had not received grants, the minister said in reply to a parliamentary question from the Democratic Alliance.

He warned that this could lead to a change of land use on farms, a decline in crop production, an inability to maintain infrastructure, a lack of skills transfer to beneficiaries, community conflicts and even farm invasions.

"Farm invasions could take place where beneficiaries cannot occupy farms as result of delays," he said.

Nkwinti said Mpumalanga was the province most affected by the failure to pay grants, with 173 reform projects still owed a total of R2.6bn.

Next came the Eastern Cape, where 49 projects were awaiting R395m from state coffers. In the Western Cape, 17 projects were owed R196m. Some of those waiting for money were from families evicted from District Six.

Nkwinti pointed out that grants were not paid directly to beneficiaries by his ministry, but transferred to "an acting agent", most likely the relevant municipality, as directed by the Public Finance Management Fund.

No reasons provided

The minister did not provide reasons for the withheld payments.

He also revealed, in response to another question by the DA, that the department owed nearly R268m in deposits on land restitution agreements.

It had bought 972 473 hectares of land for restitution purposes over the past three years in 1 300 deals, but in some cases it could not pay conveyancers' trusts that required 50% deposit for lack of funds.

"Payment could not be effected in respect of some of the agreements due to budgetary constraints in the 2008/09 and 2009/10 financial years."

In March, Nkwinti suggested that the government's land reform programmes had not been sustainable and confirmed that the target of transferring 30% of agricultural land to black farmers by 2014 would not be reached.

He revealed that at least nine out of ten emerging farmers given land under the government's land reform policy had failed to make a commercial success of their farmland.

A total of 5.9 million hectares had been redistributed since the end of apartheid but 90% of that land was not productive.

In response to the problem, the government was planning to release millions of rands this year to recapitalise failing farms.

Nkwinti said land restitution and redistribution had been bedevilled by the lack of capacity of those who received land to "continue producing effectively and optimally on the land".

In March, introducing his budget vote in the National Assembly, Nkwinti caused a stir when he announced that his department would soon propose, in a green paper, a three-tier system of land tenure.

He denied that this meant nationalisation was on the cards.
Read more on:    gugile nkwinti  |  land


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Inside News24

6 ways to stay safe at home and on the road 2015-03-27 15:39

These Easter holidays, take these precautions to keep your home and family safe.


There is a tendency to discriminate, criticise and over analyse things today which can leave everybody feeling a little bit more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.