High Level Report affirms DA position on land reform

Issued by Thandeka Mbabama MP – DA Shadow Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform
14 Mar 2018 in News

The DA welcomes today’s presentation in the Rural Development and Land Reform Portfolio Committee by Dr Aninka Claassens confirming what the High Level Panel report found that “the need to pay compensation has not been the most serious constraint on land reform in South Africa to date”.

The HLP report chaired by former President Kgalema Motlanthe further revealed that other constraints including increasing “evidence of corruption by officials, the diversion of the land reform budget to elites, lack of political will, and lack of training and capacity have proved more serious stumbling blocks to land reform.”

It is an indisputable fact that the ANC’s lack of political will is a major contributor in their failure to facilitate land reform and ensure that the land impasse, which at the core of it is a justice issue, is speedily resolved and dignity restored to our people.

The ANC’s lack of commitment to real reform is revealed in the meagre budget allocations to these programmes over the years. Last year, only 0.14% of the national budget was allocated to land reform, the lowest figure ever. This budget has been in decline every year for the last ten years. Instead of expediting land reform, the ANC has been deliberately slowing it down.

Quite frankly, the debate on expropriation allows the ANC a ‘get out of jail free’ card. It gives them the perfect cover to avoid accounting to our people for their massive failures over the period of two decades to implement land reform seriously. This is precisely the reason that has led the ANC adopt it with such enthusiasm which they voted against last year.

Land expropriation without compensation has been a disastrous model wherever it’s been tried and tested and therefore proves to be bad principle, bad policy, and bad politics.

Dr Classsens’ presentation states clearly that the current land reform process has been hamstrung by nepotism and corruption opening paths in which the ANC elite have directly benefited. The Vrede Dairy Farming project corruption saga where the poor were sidelined for the benefit of the Guptas is but one example of what has plagued land reform.

 Furthermore, at the land claims commission huge capacity issues persist. At present rate of finalization of 560 claims a year, it will take 35 years to complete all older claims.

The 1.1 billion rand spent on Mala Mala land restitution deal – the most expensive in South African history – could  have furnished at least another 110 restitution cases costing R10 million each and which could thus have given approximately 60 000 other beneficiaries the benefit of title, ownership and access to land.

The DA calls on President Ramaphosa to further investigate the High Level Panel report on the Mala Mala land deal and have the report brought to Parliament for discussion.

There’s no justice for our people due to corruption and lack of effective governance.

The presentation states that Section 25 is not the impediment to land reform but the lack of political will. The DA believes that property rights should be vested in the individual.

Simply put, the DA wants South Africans to be real owners of land with the right to choice while the ANC and the EFF want people to be permanent tenants on the land.