Rethink land reform targets: DA

By Drum Digital
17 October 2013

The government's land reform targets are ill-conceived and will not achieve the desired results, the DA said on Thursday. Releasing its policy on land reform, Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said this was part of the party's plan to "redress the legacy of apartheid". "The restitution and reform process to date has been too slow, it has not provided sufficient support for reform and restitution beneficiaries to build livelihoods onland, and the money allocated to reform programmes has not been used effectively," Mazibuko said. She advocated a "fresh approach" to ensure land reform was speeded up and became more effective. The government's focus on the redistribution of agricultural land was criticised, aschange was also needed on the urban front.

"While there is an undeniable need to make rural economies more inclusive and address the consequences of apartheid legislation on land ownership in rural areas, the national approach to land reform must take cognisance of urban land pressures," said DA MP Mpowele Swathe.

This would be done by providing serviced plots close to cities to speed up the expansion of housing.

The eight-year limit on the resale of RDP houses should be scrapped and reduced to two years to provide security of tenure to poor residents.

More state land needed to be transferred to beneficiaries.

The DA supported the government's plan to reopen the land claims process after people failed to meet the 1998 deadline.

President Jacob Zuma promised in his state-of-the-nation address that those dispossessed of land before 1913, like the Khoisan, would be able to lodge claims.

Mazibuko said the party did not yet have a position on whether it would support such a move.

"We maintain that the 1913 Land Act is a statutory marker... of a time when land ownership from which some groups would be excluded and where others would be included," she said.

"From an access to justice point of view, we as a party haven't yet decided on extending it even further; how else we would measure a start date without this statutory marker to identify as that moment of dispossession."

-by Sapa


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