Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform prepares to present final report to Ramaphosa

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The Presidential Expert Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture is expected to present its final report to President Cyril Ramaphosa on March 31.

"Over the past five months, the panel engaged on a number of initiatives to ensure that many stakeholders across the South African society were consulted.

"It also conducted research and organised roundtables that focused on specific topics, including rural and urban tenure models, climate change, women's land rights, land administration, financial services, etc," panel chairperson Dr Vuyo Mahlati said in a statement on Tuesday.

This comes after the panel held its Second National Land Reform Colloquium at Saint George Hotel in Tshwane over the weekend. The panel was tasked with reviewing current legal, policy and institutional approaches to land reform, and advising the Presidency on a way forward.

"The event was part of the consultation process to prepare for the release of the report at the end of March 2019, Mahlati explained.


About 200 "high-level speakers" at the colloquium dealt with topics that ranged from women's rights to land and good land governance to the roles of the judiciary, social movements and the state in land reform.

"Land reform is about achieving social justice and realising the vision contained in the Constitution, namely to transform racial inequality and reduce poverty.

"Most important, 'over-judicialisation' of land reform was cautioned against and courts were advised to only play a residual role," Mahlati added.

READ: Land expropriation: DA readies court papers

Participants received an opportunity to make proposals on a way forward for land reform in South Africa.

The first proposal dealt with the subject of land demand, beneficiary selection and the state's acquisition of land, including expropriation and compensation.

"It was suggested that these efforts should be underpinned by a new land redistribution bill, a land demand survey, and decentralisation of beneficiary selection to local area-based processes at municipal level.

"The idea is to democratise the land reform process and beneficiary selection, which has been acknowledged as opaque to date," Mahlati explained.

'Diverse views' 

The second proposal emphasised the private sector's role in land identification and acquisition when it came to land donations, a land reform depository and a land reform fund in order to expedite access to land, according to the chairperson.

The panel further took the view that land administration should constitute the fourth leg of land reform, alongside redistribution, restitution and tenure reform.

The colloquium also heard perspectives from political parties, such as the ANC, IFP and FF Plus and financial institutions.

"Their presented diverse views, which argued either in favour or against expropriation of land without compensation.

"Financial institutions, such as Alexander Forbes and the Land Bank, shared ideas on the possible ways that may be considered to finance land reform," Mahlati said.

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