LAND delivery through redistribution has picked up speed as a result of the government’s proactive land acquisition strategy introduced in 2006, says the Institute of Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (Plaas) at the University of Western Cape.
The government is rewriting the land reform laws in a bid to clarify the process and properly describe the strategy of identifying beneficiaries, as well as ensure the process does not compromise food security.
In a document examining the progress of land delivery up to last year, researcher Karin Kleinboo says the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has purchased and distributed at least 6,3-million hectares to blacks, representing at least 7,2% of agricultural land. The official target is 30%, or 24,6-million hectares, by 2014.
The long-awaited green paper is meant to be a framework for land reform and rural development, and could shift emphasis away from the haphazard approach it has been following since 1995 and address the constraints and neglected issues of the current programme.
The document says so far the department has transferred almost 3,45 -million hectares to beneficiaries; the restitution programme has restored at least 2,7-million hectares to the previously dispossessed.
Ruth Hall, a researcher at Plaas, suggests that so far the cost of land reform is an estimated R35bn. This includes capital and current budget allocations for restitution, redistribution and tenure reform from 1995-96 to 2010-11. However, the figure includes departmental salaries and related structures.
The government had planned to complete restitution processes by 2005, but an extension was granted to 2008. It was the extended again to last year.
Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said in the first quarter of the year that the target would not be met.
The document also says although the delivery rate had increased, it remains too slow to enable the government to meet its target.
A new target date of 2025 has been mooted.
The document further claims that "policy processes are poorly focused, contradictory and not informed by an adequate analysis of real needs and past problems".