Government’s bill for land restitution skyrockets to R12?billion, but where’s the money?

2010-08-17 00:00

SOUTH Africa’s land reform process is a ticking time bomb for the national fiscus and a source of unnecessary tension, says Inkatha Freedom Party MP Narend Singh.

Singh is a member of the standing committee on appropriations. In a press statement, he said the country risks instability over the land issue because the government is struggling to finalise the land process.

The acting chief land claims commissioner, Sibusiso Gamede, appeared before the committee last Wednesday and disclosed that the government has committed itself to billions of rands worth of land sale agreements although it does not have the money to cover them, Singh said.

The committee discovered that the government has signed sales agreements committing to buy land for restitution in the amount of R7,5 billion which has since skyrocketed to R12 billion.

In addition, the government has been forced, through court orders, to pay out R500 million to land owners.

Four thousand claims, which were lodged as far back as December 1998, still need to be researched, considered and gazetted.

Singh said the poor management of the land reform process has created unnecessary uncertainty, anguish, tension and huge financial losses for land owners and prospective claimants alike, which poses a serious risk to South Africa’s national security.

“More importantly, the failure to deal with land reform effectively will also have a devastating impact on food production and security in future,” Singh added.

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