Despite challenges, there is hope for land reform

2011-06-14 10:45

In his budget vote speech on May 7, Minister Gugile Nkwinti of the Department of Rural Development Land Reform noted that land reform remains a priority for the government and one of the pillars of the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme.

His department reacted positively in recent years when the land redistribution and restitution programmes came under critical review, both within and outside of government.

Since November, the department started a series of provincial and national consultative workshops with all social partners – the farm equity schemes, Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development, Pro-active Land Acquisition Strategy, and other similar programmes of the former land affairs department.

It was in these consultative workshops that the department shared its current policy, legislative, strategic and operational dimensions.

The department needed to learn directly from its social partners about their experiences as farmers.

It also used these workshops to test its future policy and legislative thoughts and plans, including key elements of the Draft Green Paper on land reform, as well as the 2010 Draft Land Tenure Security Bill.

It was during the national consultative workshop held on May 27 and 28 that came with a resolution that the National Reference Group should meet with the department once in a quarter to evaluate progress on all land reform programmes; that the National Social Partners Plenary should sit twice in a year in order to provide feedback to the ministry on the performance of its land reform programmes.

All the stakeholders have since become part of the decisionmaking team and with such interventions, they have brought the much-needed hope in the land reform process.

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