Patricia de Lille, give land to the people

Issued by Noko Masipa MP – DA Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
05 Sep 2022 in News

Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbite by Noko Masipa MP.

Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), Patricia de Lille’s piecemeal concession on the release of state land for land reform and human settlement purposes is a flimsy cover up of the state’s land hoarding policy while millions of South Africans remain without access to land.

In a brag media statement issued last week, de Lille states that the DPWI has released 58 930 hectares of land for land reform and human settlement purposes. What she conveniently fails to mention is that the DPWI is currently sitting on 3,3 million hectares of land.

Using the DPWIs own figures on land released in the current financial year, it means that it will take the Department 56 years to fully allocate state land under its ownership to people who need it.

With the ANC having failed to address the land reform issue since 1994, de Lille’s DPWI is now asking landless South Africans to wait for another half a century before land owned by the department can be availed to them.

By adopting this lethargic approach on the release of state land for land reform purposes, Minister de Lille has essentially become part and parcel of the ANC’s failed ‘drip’ land reform strategy. Instead of adopting a comprehensive plan to release the millions of hectares owned by the state, the ANC government has opted to release a few thousand hectares once in a while to appease landless citizens.

In addition to the 3,3 million hectares of land that the DPWI is hoarding, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has also previously revealed that it is sitting on 10,4 million hectares of land across the country. Based on these statistics, it reinforces the point that the problems impeding land reform in South Africa are not related to land scarcity but a lack of political will by an ANC government that is obsessed with state custodianship of land.

Instead of trying to hoodwink South Africans on her Department’s false commitment to land reform, de Lille should play open cards with landless South Africans and tell them how she will go about releasing the land under her Department’s custodianship at scale an in the shortest possible time.