Transfer tribal land - Agri SA2012-07-25 18:36
Johannesburg - Transferring land ownership from tribal authorities to the people who live there could help create wealth, Agri SA deputy president Theo de Jager said on Wednesday.
"More than 22 million people could [then] own something that they could develop and sell."
De Jager was speaking in Johannesburg at a discussion hosted by the FW de Klerk Foundation on the recent African National Congress policy conference.
Speaking later, he said there were about 22 million people living under tribal authority in areas formerly known as the homelands.
This was residential land and common use land - land used for cattle grazing for example.
"It will be an exercise in wealth creation."
De Jager said a debate was currently underway in African countries such as Malawi and Swaziland over whether the traditional system was necessary.
Malawi had decided that they would abandon traditional systems but Swaziland felt traditional systems would prevail.
"In South Africa that debate is not really mature yet," De Jager said.
He said former president Thabo Mbeki leaned towards the modern approach, but President Jacob Zuma appeared to prefer the traditional option.
Many people who currently live on land owned by a tribal authority felt it did not make sense to plant orchards because they did not own the land.
They also could not get capital from banks to develop the land because of this.
"That's why that land is in such a poor state," said De Jager, adding that some of the land was in the country's best farming areas.
At the same time, the government could not be a development financier -- hat should be the role of the banks.
De Jager cautioned the government against forming community trusts when carrying out land restitution.
"It is hard enough for a son and father to farm together. You put a whole community together... God forbid that you actually make a profit, then they actually fight," he said.
"This community farming does not work - nowhere in the world, nowhere in South Africa."