Land act must be reversed, minister says

2012-10-23 22:38

Pretoria - Loss of land, overpopulation, and overgrazing must be corrected, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said in Pretoria on Tuesday.

"We must reverse the legacy of the 1913 Land Act," he said at the first annual general meeting of the African Farmers' Association of SA (Afasa) this week.

The Native Land Act, also known as the Bantu Land Act, created a system of land tenure which prevented the majority of South Africa from owning land.

Nkwinti was commenting on a new land reform proposal made by President Jacob Zuma at the Afasa gala dinner on Monday evening.

The plan proposed a district-based approach to land reform and its financing.

Each district should establish a district land reform committee, which would involve all concerned parties.

This committee would be responsible for identifying 20% of the commercial agricultural land in the district and for giving commercial farmers the option of assisting in its transfer to black farmers.

Nkwinti said concentration of land ownership, where 35 000 farmers were responsible for 90% of the country's food production, was unsustainable.

"It's not politics, it's economics. You talk about growth in those circumstances. It is impossible."

He said deforestation and overuse of land caused loss of production.

"We must not only think of land changing hands between white and black."

Policies in the future might be drastically different.

"Tomorrow it might be all farmers [that need support], whether it be black or white."

Afriforum on Tuesday afternoon said it would appoint a task team comprising of legal experts, economists, and agricultural experts to study Zuma's proposal.

"Afriforum's caution about the latest land proposal stems from the possibility that the proposal could be used to divide land owners," spokesperson Cornelius Jansen van Rensburg said in a statement.

"Past experience has taught that the [African National Congress] tends to break agreements reached with it, and for this reason it is necessary to consider President Zuma's proposal with the necessary circumspection."

He said the big question remained whether ownership would vest with the state or with the new owners.

"This proposal could drastically restrict land ownership of South Africans."


The Freedom Front Plus said it was unrealistic to offer 50% of market value for property, as proposed in the plan.

"It is impractical and will not resolve the problems," party leader Pieter Mulder said in a statement.

However, the proposal to delegate authority to the local community was a step in the right direction.

"The local agriculture community is in a much better position to make decisions about land that can be transferred. They also know the local community, in order to know who will be able to succeed as a farmer on such land."

He said the serious problem in land reform remained the department's total lack of capacity.

"Before this problem is not addressed, all new and improved proposals run the risk of failing."

Agri SA also responded to Zuma's new proposed land plan on Tuesday.

"While there is merit in some elements of this proposal - derived from Vision 2030 - they fail to ensure fairness to all parties," its president Johannes Müller said in a statement.

Agri SA agreed that local committees could be tasked to determine land reform needs per district, but it questioned the state's proposal to pay 50% of the market value for property, with other land owners in the district volunteering to cover the balance.

"The fiscus has the necessary funds and should make its full contribution in this regard, as stipulated in the Constitution," Müller said.

"To require such additional contributions from land owners in exchange for security of land ownership and attaining black economic empowerment status borders on extortion."

He said the proposal failed to take into account whether a farmer had the financial means to make such a contribution.

Zuma invited comment on the viability of the proposal, and Agri SA said it would respond in greater detail later.

Mller said the challenge was to refrain from merely criticising a well-intentioned proposal and to come up with workable solutions to a complex issue.

  • mark.a.fysh - 2012-10-23 23:19

    Nkwinti said: "It's not politics, it's economics. You talk about growth in those circumstances. It is impossible." Growth of what? agricultural output, perhaps? Dead wrong. Growth of poverty, perhaps? Dead right!

      luther.kingsley.5 - 2012-10-24 00:49

      I'm all for land reform and many Black Africans can benefit from owning land and working it productively. BUT 1) You cannot reduce or remove the current highly successful and productive white farmers, its like closing all food stores overnight, there aren't many white farmers left. 2) You cannot take farms/land from people who have legally purchased it. 3) You have no claim on land in WC, NC and Southern Free State, this has been discussed to death. 4) You cannot expect 12.5mil unemployed people to fit into this plan of yours. The ANC is failing to create real jobs for a modern economy and is now again indirectly blaming the past with this 1913 Land Act nonsense. Owning land does not mean you'll have an income, it comes with a lot of responsibility and hard work to actually create an income from this newly acquired land. Unless the ANC's plan is to move back in time and have people occupy land and grow crops only for person use, no job creation and no economical/agricultural growth for South Africa, this is really backward mentality.

      goeie.jaarling - 2012-10-24 05:32

      There are enough white matriculants who have the potential and qualify to be trained as docters and health professionals, Nzimande the racist's problem is that there are not enough black students with the intellectual potential to be trained in the medical field. It seems that the ANC has got a bit of a problem when genetic potential doesn't want to follow political propaganda and lies. The problem with affirmative action is that the majority of 45 million will never be able to compete on a equal intellectual basis with the minority of 5 million and Nzimande's statement is just another conformation of this fact.....and the same argument stands for farming, engineering, etc.

      ahenriquesfernandes - 2012-10-24 07:50

      I get the feeling that the ANC are feeling under pressure of late due to the recent failings of government and are now trying to do these rush jobs to make people happy. Land has always been a hot topic and they think moving it quickly to the masses will get them bonus points. They fail to see the impact this will have. No Foresight. After reading the other article with TAUs response (they mentioned water and infrastructure) it makes me worry that even more that gov projects are not planned fully. It all seems very desperate and I would not be surprised if we hear more ridiculous projects/promises in other sectors before year end

      george.outremer - 2012-10-24 21:46

      How about all the land the government owns which is not being put to productive use? Where does this fit into their plan?

  • KennySven - 2012-10-23 23:38

    Nkwinti,Dumb ass,give your people the land/farms,are you mad? All you would be doing is starving the masses in the near future as in Zimbabwe. It is proven they can't grow weeds let alone crops.They have no experience in farming and it has not worked in the present and certainly won't work in the future. If this should happen I suggest you start looking now to import basic foods for your to be starving people.

      Sibusiso - 2012-10-24 00:54

      But native africans survived for years by farming. What do you think they ate before europeans arrived? I'm not sure if your arrogance surpasses your ignorance. Whether you like it or not, S.A is for all, black and white should have equal ownership of their country. The 1913 Act must be reversed, it is the very same act that makes the likes of dumb asses like malema heroes. This act must be reversed as quick as possible before we see a South African arab spring.

      luther.kingsley.5 - 2012-10-24 01:03

      Sibusiso, We are not disputing that Black Africans know how to grow crops, but there is a HUGE difference between growing a few mielies for your family and growing thousands of tons of mielies and doing this consistently to produce to the market, in other words running a farm as a highly productive finely tuned factory. Why do you think many African countries like Nigeria, Ghana etc. invited the "sacked" white farmers from Zimbabwe to come and help/teach them how to farm on high capacity? But go ahead, "grab" these successful farms and that will be your contribution to destroying SA's food supply and economy, think forward man.

      Sibusiso - 2012-10-24 01:29

      @Luther.I get your argument. I'm not saying changes should be made tomorrow. It should be a process that starts with teaching the black africans how to be commercial farmers, then when they have enough experience they can then be independent. I'm sure a dedicated black african can learn how to be a successful commercial farmer. If there were good black commercial farmers I'm sure you wouldn't mind them having a share of the farming market, right ?!!

      nuus.reeder - 2012-10-24 06:23

      Sibusiso, the land needs to be given to black people who want to farm, not just people who happened to once historically live on it. The people that were moved off have now settled somewhere else. No need to change any act, the ANC could easily and cheaply have simply bought land on the open market for aspirant black farmers. A few laws to help them, like right of first purchase on farms for sale, and something to protect abusive prices, etc. Really not that difficult. But ja, black people that want to farm can farm - buy a farming magazine and you can read about successful black farmers.

  • beverly.young3 - 2012-10-24 01:04

    eish this guy lives nearby here. (Kenton). He was once the 'speaker' for the Bisho government. As politicians go, he is okay and pretty straight. I think sometimes these politicians are 'mis-represented'? He was involved in a farming scheme here, and did well for the community, shares etc. So on that front lets give him his due. I think what we take umbrage at, is the broad 'give the farms away' attitude. The African way, (with respect) is the traditional cattle ownership thingy. "Cattle are a sign of wealth". The problem is, and this is beacuse 'we' have a certain fiscal advantage, is that in owning the said farms, they have to be worked and financed. That is the downfall. I was very vocal earlier on in my postings saying that mostly these farms do not work, and I stand by that, BUT there is one example in the district where a dairy and beef farm is working spelendidly. It is a wholly owned black co operative, headed by a 22 year old 'black', degreed manager who is a whiz!! So possibly, if the politicians would simply stop mouthing off about taking over etc, and put more money into educating proposed farmers, before they are given the land, things might just work out. Just saying, we tend to react badly to government announcements, myself included, and I am a farmer, but I am also an optimist. I have seen good things in Botswana and my son tells me Zambia as well....???

      luther.kingsley.5 - 2012-10-24 01:10

      YaYa - I agree

      ester.venter.3 - 2012-10-24 07:18

      I agree as well. For me, first and foremostly, the people who would like to farm, should be educated. This could even involve a type of apprenticeship at successful farms where the are taught the finer aspects of running and maintaining a farm. Things that could fine tune their instincts and passions. This could be a process of a year (or even 2) for the would-be farmers, after which their skills and competence might be tested in some sort of way. (I have no idea how born and bred myself) once it is established that have sufficient knowledge, it would be of greater value to assist these farmers with attaining land to utilize their skills. In my mind, the relationship established with the farmers who assisted in the 'apprenticeship'would also lead to much better inter-relationships between these farmers and even the communities. Just a suggestion...

  • digger.dighead - 2012-10-24 05:15

    The injustices of the past….ok let me get this right. So we are made to feel guilty and then must give away our developed property for half its value because Africa didn’t develop at the same rate as Europe? So basically we are held responsible because our ancestor arrived here to find some tribes of people living in and off the bush that hadn’t developed on their own, and they didn’t drop everything and first educate and uplift the locals before developing the country….together!! Right that would be the first time ever in our recorded history that happened in any civilization, including African. So we are accused of suppressing black people….who was suppressing them before we arrived, that they hadn’t even developed an ox wagon or wheel for that matter. I am sorry but that’s a fact. I am more than happy to help and share what knowledge I have if it will assist in developing someone who firstly asks, has a good attitude and a willing to learn, however I feel a bit peeved that it’s all our fault they as a nation didn’t do that for themselves long before we arrived. (Yip now go ahead and get my post deleted like normal….but a fact remains a fact) and once you accept that then maybe we can all get along and you might just be surprised how many more “bad whites” will bend over backwards to try and help.

  • nicky.saaiman.1 - 2012-10-24 06:33

    Let me just tell all you racist black people something. If you take a farm and give it to a whity staying in GP he will also make a f up. Why knowledge. Ok the lack thereof. That is the same reason very little go right in this country. Overpaid and underworked people. Not to mention all the thiefs.

      matshane.seleko - 2012-10-24 06:59

      Just by playing the so called race card,that makes you a racist yourself.Talk about the pot teasing the lid.Ok,perhaps this racism thing will still be stuck with humanity for another thousand years.

  • Andrea - 2012-10-24 08:09

    And the land already "given back" to wannabe farmers who proved that they could hardly keep a cow alive, will this land be redistributed back to skilled farmers again?

  • trudie.swanepoel.1 - 2012-10-24 08:13

    How you allow your leaders to condem you as losers, by forcing legal landowners to hand over their goods to you...? Self respect is what grows success - in all cultures. It is unasked for, but good politics at this stage of the game, I'm sure.

  • markus.botha - 2012-10-24 08:18

    Hmmmmm... sounds familiar... where oh where did the government take land from white farmers and gave it to the black farmer... I've picked up a routine the government makes use of. 1) There is mention of something the middle class will not like. 2) There are meetings held about this thing that the middle class don't like. 3) This thing the middleclass don't like is strongly denied. 4) Action is taken to ensure this thing the middle class don't like is put in to motion. 5) The government gets sued for trying to implement this thing the middle class does not like, and loses the case. 6) a set period goes by before an appeal is made. 7) this thing that the middleclass don't like is lawfull, and serves to add on value and financially drain the middleclass. Examples: Tollgates, Property Taxes, Hike in Electricity prices, Road accident funds added to our petrol, VAT, etc. All of the above mentioned are ways of getting money for doing nothing. Take from the poor and middle class and give to the rich. Which all have AIDS and want to enjoy the time they have left even if they have to break some eggs to make an omlette. 203... standard 2 education... Oddly enough, There is only one conclusion: "When the going gets though, the tough goes to Canada! Which is a first world country, and very very few people have AIDS and try to stuff their pockets with Taxpayers money. Leaving South Africa... without a middleclass".

  • horst.muller.7330 - 2012-10-24 08:23

    No, no, you guys have got this all wrong. If I understand the article correctly he wants tribal land to be privatised, to take it away from the control of the chiefs. And this would certainly be a step in the right direction.

  • barry.millward - 2012-10-24 08:28

    Sorry but the ANC need to take a look at the rest of Africa. The so called first world's have donate billions into Africa an the basis of: Give them food and they will live today, give them seed and they can feed themselves tomorrow. Like may have mentioned here, there are not many successful Black Farmers. Has anyone asked why. The last time I was in SA I noticed where the Land Reform had taken place on farms these had become derelict. People need to realise that yes the black man has worked most of the Farms and got them where they were prior to 1994. But this was not done with the responsibilities of being the Farmer. They did not have to take the risks involved and as long as they had there plate of food at night,a bottle of Magewu in there hand, roof over there head they were fine. Oh not to mention that on bumper years they were given bonuses which they bought cows and sheep. Which were fed by the farmer. So SA need to realise that if they keep on killing the White Farmer they are killing themselves. Everyone seems to agree with Land Reform but you need to remember that these farms were bought and paid for many years ago with blood, sweat and tears from all that involved growing them. Please see this site and I think most of you will agree with what this man says... Copy this into you browser.

  • nkululeko2 - 2013-01-16 19:01

    you should stop talking and justifying what they know is wrong to today from they past doings against blacks! ur people have far to long have benefited from our black people, stop being in denial and help us reverse the injustices of the past. u have benefited massively and you are were u are today because of ur biased laws which were aimed to segregate black people, so stop acting like saints and come out of that sheep skin u always seem to hide in. throwing big words around like i care....the truth is u are nothing but cowards! grandpa was a racist and probably still is, land needs to be redistributed, ur not denying the act so whats really the matter? u know the injustices which has been caused by it...

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