Land chair wants 'Bantustans' cleared

2012-05-23 20:14

Cape Town - The chairperson of Parliament's land reform committee wants people out of the over-crowded former "Bantustans" and says the government must make use of its right to expropriate land to do this.

Stone Sizane said after a briefing by the land reform department in Parliament on Wednesday that the government was not making sufficient use of its right to expropriate land.

"South Africans living in greater South Africa should not be over-crowded in Bantustans. Let's not blame the barrenness of the land, the over-grazing and the soil erosion... let's take people out of Bantustans."

Bantustans were largely rural areas set aside by the apartheid government for occupation by blacks, loosely based on tribal identity. They were scrapped in 1994.

Sizane said the Constitution gave the state an instrument of expropriation. If there was a land dispute, the government should "go to court and let the judges adjudicate".

The willing seller, willing buyer model of land reform was a market-driven process and very few rights in South Africa had been entrenched via the market.

"Let's stop flogging this willing seller, willing buyer horse and deal with instruments that will help us redistribute land," Sizane said.

People should be able to settle everywhere in the country.

"Let them settle in the Free State, North West and the Western Cape. Let's not use willing buyer, willing seller. There is a problem there. Let's buy land and distribute it."

Sizane said the research methodology used by the department in a study commissioned to review land acquisition was "questionable".

Ticking time bomb

DA MP Athol Trollip dismissed a suggestion by the department that it would take 54 years to reach the government's target of redistributing 30% of the land.

"A lot of work had been preparatory work to determine and define models," Trollip said.

"In those 18 years a lot of work was around preparation. Reform and meeting those targets should be accelerated in the next three to five years."

A land audit was needed because no one knew how much land had been bought and redistributed.

One ANC MP said the pace of land reform was "slow and ineffective" and was "a ticking time bomb".

"The majority of blacks capable of farming are not credit worthy to be loaned [money] by banks to buy farms," he said.

A ministerial national reference group on land reform had to speed up what it was doing before people started to revolt.

"This is a ticking time bomb," he said.

"This reference group appointed by the minister must speed up."

- SAPA

Read more on:    athol trollip  |  land
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