Firstly, reactive land responses. This very specifically relates to land policy:
- on-farm occupier challenges,
- land claims processes and support,
- spatial Planning and Land Use Management plans,
- in the communal areas, land use rights. This component has been the most substantial in terms of volume over the last year with support to numerous members in relation to labour tenant claims, land restitution claims and management of on-farm or near to farm conflicts.
At the Desk we have contributed to over nine land related policies of which the bill and act related to Expropriation without Compensation have been two of them. In addition to this, the Desk has taken part in a number of ‘working groups’ which have been established at a national level to engage agriculture and private business in finding solutions to financing of farmers on state land, farm-worker housing challenges and, barriers to land donations.
Secondly, the desk focuses on proactive land solutions. This looks at our farming and rural futures through the lenses of the times in which we live, where the inequality, racial tension and policy uncertainty in the country has the potential to make the farming and rural environment non-sustainable. The Desk aims to assist members who are looking to the future with the intent to diversify their enterprise business model, ownership model and/or business structure to manage the risks associated with farming today.
In this regard we have developed a portfolio of different types of partnership models which allow members who intend to continue farming for the foreseeable future to diversify their ownership and/or operational structure in such a manner as to decrease their surrounding social risk. The mechanism for managing that risk is two-fold – firstly by strategizing how to increase the economic growth of the social circle in which the land is situated, and secondly by adjusting the ownership demographic to avoid policy uncertainty. The key throughout the focus of these partnerships is the balancing of economic and social risk; we must achieve models which are sustainably manageable and profitable for the member as well as which benefit the surrounding communities through jobs, bonuses, ownership or other means. Ultimately the solutions must navigate a path towards a sustainable rural and agricultural future in our province.
Labour tenant claims
The largest component of engagement in 2020 was linked to labour tenant claims. Late in 2019 the courts ruled that the Office of the Special Master of Labour Tenant Claims should be established and should drive the finalisation of the process of Labour Tenant Claims which started with the Labour Tenant Act in 1996.
This has resulted in many members recently receiving Section 17 notices of Labour Tenant claims as the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform implements the order of the court to make progress towards the closure of the labour tenant claims process. This has seen a lot of activity and pressure around the subject in general.
At Kwanalu, we have engaged with the office of the special master on a number of occasions at both a national and provincial level and are attempting to ensure that the process is fair, transparent and has fair respect for the rights of landowners. The office of the Special Master of Labour Tenant Claims, and his team, have been very supportive of solutions which are found jointly between landowners and labour tenants and have responded very positively to Kwanalu’s engagements. At the Land Desk we desire to support members in finding sustainable, profitable solutions for our members.
Member competitiveness and profitability
Throughout 2020 a number of member surveys were completed for a range of issues. One clear outcome has been that there is increased pressure on rural business profitability and that Kwanalu should, where possible support members in the area of enterprise profitability. With this in mind, Kwanalu has formed a partnership with PUM Specialist Consultants, who are able to donate a certain number of free hours of consulting to business owners who are interested. To date, out of 12 applications, 11 specialist consultants have been matched to business owners. The value of the support is estimated at R40 000 per matched application. There are still more opportunities to apply for and be matched to a specialist consultant in various areas of farm and business management.
In addition to this focus on profitability, Kwanalu has taken two steps towards a more comprehensive support of member profitability including the conceptualizing of group negotiation for shared services of members (eg. insurance, and staff benefits such as pension, burial and education benefits/plans).
Kwanalu has also taken steps towards a closer working relationship with commodity groups in the province with the particular aim of enabling a more profitable business environment.
During 2021 the Land Desk looks with expectation at the possibilities of supporting members to plot and pursue the way forward for sustainable futures within KZN with secure land ownership rights, profitable businesses and an ever-improving rural socio-economic economy.
If anyone would like support in any land related issues or have any questions, please feel free to contact our land desk firstname.lastname@example.org