NEWS & ANALYSIS

20% target for redistribution of agricultural land by district by 2030 - Gugile Nkwinti

Dept says District Land Reform Committees will bring together stakeholders to identify suitable land

DISTRICT LAND REFORM COMMITTEES AND DISTRICT AGRI-PARKS MANAGEMENT COUNCILS LAUNCH

12 December 2015

The 2012 National Development Plan (NDP) emphasises the need to reintegrate rural areas into mainstream economic development, which would allow rural residents to share in the dividends of South Africa’s overall economic growth and prosperity. Land reform within the context of the NDP is geared towards ensuring that agricultural development and subsequent inclusive rural economic growth are central outcomes of the reform process. Addressing the inequitable distribution of land is a crucial step in accomplishing integration of rural areas into the mainstream economy.

The NDP asserts that various models of land acquisition and redistribution should be considered to resolve the slow pace of land reform and the lack of successful implementation of policy at the local level. 

To this end, the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Mr Gugile Nkwinti today launched the District Land Reform Committees and the District Agri-parks Management Council, which will prioritise land reform and aim to provide a decentralised method of dealing with land redistribution issues and rural underdevelopment.

Although notable progress has been made in land redistribution and restitution, more needs to be done. The National Development Plan (NDP) notes that land reform has not yet translated into the establishment of sufficient numbers of sustainable new black farmers and restitution, in particular, has been quite slow. In addition, there has been an under-utilisation of productive and communal land and this might threaten food security, especially at household level. The shrinking agricultural sector, climate change and global economic outlook also pose serious challenges. 

District Land Reform Committees (DLRCs)

District Land Reform Committees is a diverse range of stakeholders with a common understanding on how land acquisition should be carried out, thus possibly sidestepping many conflicts that have surfaced in the past considering the highly emotive nature of land redistribution.  The DLRCs will comprise multi-sectoral stakeholders, including landowners from organised agriculture; representatives from other private sector institutions and the financial sector; civil society, NGOs and labour formations and public sector actors (particularly those in farming areas where tenure security and conditions on farms are still a challenge); and relevant departments and agencies from all spheres of Government charged with rural development and land issues.

The DLRCs envisage a decentralised method of dealing with land redistribution issues. This area-based approach involves the consolidation of all key stakeholder-representatives, in any municipal district containing agricultural land, to form a District Land Reform Committee. 44 District Land Reform Committees are being established at municipal level, which will increase the pace and quality of land acquisition in identified localities, using innovative costing and decentralised institutions and structured processes of district community-led mechanisms.

The DLRCs will be charged with the identification of a minimum of 20% farming land in an area that is easily acquirable and which does not cause distortions in the land market.  This may include land that has already been placed on the market, land which is owned by persons suffering financial problems, land owned by absentee landlords willing to participate in the redistribution programme, and land in a deceased estate.

The DLRC’s key functions includes:

Identify farms suitable for acquisition by Government (the target is 20% of agricultural land per district by 2030);

Identify and interview potential candidates for farm allocation;

Advise the Minister on the strategic support needs of identified farms and support needs of recommended candidates; and

Advise the Minister on resolving land rights conflicts, as might be referred to a DLRC.

District Agri-parks Management Council (DAMC)

Smallholder farmers and farm labourers comprise a substantial portion of the nation's rural poor and extensive evidence demonstrates agriculture's potential to catalyse growth and reduce poverty. It is a proven fact that no matter how high the quality of the produce of the smallholder farmer, it is almost impossible for such a farmer to gain a foothold in the commodity value chain.

The answer to South Africa's rural underdevelopment crisis thus lies partially in initiating policies that promote agro-industrialisation within the small-scale farming sector. It is in this context that the Agri-parks Programme were initiated by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR).

Following extensive processes of research and analysis, Government is well-advanced with the development of Agri-parks; one in each of the 44 district municipalities, prioritising the 27 poorest. This was one of the key interventions announced by State President Jacob Zuma in his annual State of the Nation address from Parliament earlier this year. R2 billion has been earmarked over the current financial year to kick-start the programme.

Agri-parks are areas identified specifically for agricultural activities to encourage development and growth by making land available to small-scale farmers, at reasonable cost, with long-term tenure. South Africa's Agri-parks will offer comprehensive services along the various commodity value chains.

The Agri-parks initiative will contribute to developing 300 000 new smallholder farmers and 145 000 jobs in agro-processing. This will involve the selection and training of smallholder farmers, together with the selection of suitable agricultural land in each province. It will also entail the placement, incubation and training of unemployed agricultural graduates and other agro-entrepreneurs.

FACT SHEET:

DISTRICT LAND REFORM COMMITTEES AND AGRI-PARKS MANAGEMENT COUNCIL LAUNCH

The Ministry of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) was established in 2009, in line with the Polokwane resolutions. For the first time in its history, the country has a ministry dedicated to the social and economic development of rural South Africa; committed to ensuring that South Africans residing in rural areas enjoyed the same benefits as their urban cousins, so that that they too are covered by the blanket of human rights and basic dignity guaranteed in our Constitution.

Following its establishment, the new ministry immediately embarked on an intensive process to define and conceptualise what rural development should be, and to provide a framework of how it should be implemented. Government’s plan for developing rural areas, the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) is aimed specifically at curing the blight of poverty by the creation of vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities.

To achieve its vision, the new department defined its role and mission as being that of facilitating integrated development and social cohesion through partnerships with all sectors of society to achieve 3 objectives:

1. Sustainable land and agrarian transformation: The aim is to increase agricultural production through the optimal and sustainable use of natural resources and appropriate technologies to ensure food security, dignity and improved rural livelihoods. This will subsequently lead to vibrant local economic development.

2. Rural development: This focus is on improving both economic infrastructure (such as roads, community gardens, food production, fencing for agriculture, etc.) and social infrastructure (e.g., communal sanitation, and non-farming activities). To successfully achieve this, ownership of processes, projects and programmes is vital.

3. Land reform based on restitution, redistribution and land tenure reform: Deliberate and intensified post-settlement support is available to ensure that land transferred to black South Africans contributes to the fight against poverty, by ensuring food security and underpinning economic and social transformation in rural areas. Land reform remains critical to the comprehensive development of South Africa’s rural areas and the government’s recapitalisation and development of land reform projects, currently in distress, bears testimony to this.

To address these objectives, the Department of Rural Development and Land Affairs will launch both the District Land Reform Committee and the District Agri-parks Management Council on Friday 11 December 2015.

District Land Reform Committee (DLRC)

The District Land Reform Committee is a diverse range of stakeholders with a common understanding on how land acquisition should be carried out, thus possibly sidestepping many conflicts that have surfaced in the past considering the highly emotive nature of land redistribution. 

The DLRC will comprise multi-sectoral stakeholders, including landowners from organised Agriculture; representatives from other private sector institutions and the financial sector; civil society, NGOs and labour formations and public sector actors (particularly those in farming areas where tenure security and conditions on farms are still a challenge); and relevant departments and agencies from all spheres of Government charged with rural development and land issues.

The National Development Plan (2012) prioritises land reform. The plan envisages a decentralised method of dealing with land redistribution issues. This area-based approach involves the coming together of all key stakeholder-representatives, in any municipal district containing agricultural land, to form a District Land Reform Committee. 44 District Land Reform Committees are being established at municipal level, which will increase the pace and quality of land acquisition in identified localities, using innovative costing and decentralised institutions and structured processes of district community-led mechanisms.

The DLRC’s key functions includes:

Identify farms suitable for acquisition by Government (the target is 20% of agricultural land per district by 2030);

Identify and interview potential candidates for farm allocation;

Advise the Minister on the strategic support needs of identified farms and support needs of recommended candidates; and

Advise the Minister on resolving land rights conflicts, as might be referred to a DLRC by
him/her.

District Agri-Parks Management Council

Smallholder farmers and farm labourers comprise a substantial portion of the nation's rural poor and extensive evidence demonstrates agriculture's potential to catalyse growth and reduce poverty. It is a proven fact that no matter how high the quality of the produce of the smallholder farmer, it is almost impossible for such a farmer to gain a foothold in the commodity value chain.

The answer to South Africa's rural underdevelopment crisis thus lies partially in initiating policies that promote agro-industrialisation within the small-scale farming sector. It is in this context that the Agri-parks Programme were initiated by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR).

Following extensive processes of research and analysis, government is well-advanced with the development of Agri-parks; one in each of the 44 district municipalities, prioritising the 27 poorest. This was one of the key interventions announced by State President Jacob Zuma in his annual State of the Nation address from Parliament earlier this year. R2 billion has been earmarked over the current financial year to kick-start the programme.

Agri-parks are areas identified specifically for agricultural activities to encourage development and growth by making land available to small-scale farmers, at reason-able cost, with long-term tenure. South Africa's Agri-parks will offer comprehensive services along the various commodity value chains.

The Agri-parks initiative will contribute to developing 300 000 new smallholder farmers and 145000 jobs in agro-processing. This will involve the selection and training of smallholder farmers, together with the selection of suitable agricultural land in each province. It will also entail the placement, incubation and training of unemployed agricultural graduates and other agro-entrepreneurs.

DEMOGRAPHICAL LAND ACQUISITION AND ALLOCATION HIGHLIGHTS

82 million hectares [8.2m - PW] of land redistributed since 1994 with 235 609 beneficiaries of which 50 882 are women, 33 108 youth, and 678 are people with disabilities

4 555 995 million hectares delivered through Land Redistribution involving 5 184 projects

In the last 5 years:

The land redistribution programme acquired 1 488 241 ha through 1 467 projects with 20 001 beneficiaries of which 8 297 are women, 6 149 are youth and 49 are people with disabilities

Close to R1-billion (R995 379 034) spent on recapitalisation and development programme through grants and proactive land acquisition strategy (PLAS)

DISTRICT LAND REFORM COMMITTEE

Reintegrating rural areas into mainstream economic development

Enabling rural residents to share in the dividends of South Africa’s overall economic growth and prosperity

SPATIAL PLANNING AND LAND USE MANAGEMENT ACT (SPLUMA)

SPLUMA enjoins all spheres of government to develop and implement an all-inclusive planning system

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS ON LAND REFORM

The DRDLR has recently approved R235-million for emerging farmers to acquire land. This will ease congestion in communal and state land across five provinces and boost food security

The DRDLR further spent R69-million for farm recapitalisation.

Approximately 145 permanent jobs are expected to be created from the 13 projects, with an additional 1114 temporal jobs

This will go a long way towards fast tracking service delivery in rural areas

R1-billion per annum pledged by Banking Association of South Africa to support the land reform programme

-END-

Statement issued by Mr Sivuyile Mangxamba, (Acting) Chief Director: Strategic Communication, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, 12 December 2015