Department of Rural Development and Land Reform 2012 Strategic Plan; Green Paper on Land Reform: update

Committee: Rural Development and Land Reform

Chairperson: Mr S Sizani (ANC)

Date of Meeting: 18 Apr 2012

Summary

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform briefly gave the Committee a progress report on its Green Paper on Land Reform and then presented its Annual Performance Plan for 2012/2013.

The thrust of the Department’s report discussed the progress made so far on the Green Paper. The deadline for submission of comments on the Green Paper elapsed on 31 December 2011. The Department was required to consolidate comments and submissions and develop policy and legislative proposals. The Minister met with the National Reference Group (NAREG) on Land Reform in November 2011 and constituted five Working Groups in respect of policy proposals made by the Department in the Green Paper, namely: 1. Land Management Commission; 2. Land Rights Management Board and Committees; 3. Office of the Land Valuer General; 4.Three Tier Tenure System; 5.Legislative Amendments and Communal Tenure. Each of the Working Groups were expected to develop policy positions around the issues for which they were constituted. Work on the Green paper was still ongoing and all Working Groups were to meet at the end of discussions to consolidate reports of the five groups and present to the Minister.

The Department’s Annual Performance Plan for 2012/13 highlighted the vision, mission, strategy, strategic goals and objectives, key priority areas of the Department for 2012/13, programmes of the Department and the proposed financial budget. The Department had commendably streamlined its Strategic Objectives into eight SMART based objectives. They were- corporate governance and service excellence through compliance with the legal framework achieved by 2014; reformed policy, legislative and institutional environment that was biased towards rural areas by 2014; effective land planning and administration that was biased toward rural areas; integrated institutional arrangements for effective cooperative governance and stakeholder participation by 2014; improved access to affordable and diverse food by 2014; improved rural services to support sustainable livelihoods by 2014 and; improved access to sustainable employment and skills development opportunities by 2014. The presentation outlined the Department’s Annual Performance Plan for each for its five programmes (see document) in 2012/13 and corresponding budgetary allocation to the programmes. The Department projected an estimated total expenditure of R8 877 566 000 for the year. It allocated R1 096 223 000 to Administration, which included the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) Youth Programme budget; R562 367 000 to Geospatial and Cadastral Services; R934 824 000 to Rural Development; R3 000 000 000 to Restitution; and R3 234 152 000 to Land Reform.

Members were dissatisfied with the Department’s presentation to the Committee on the Green Paper on Land Reform, stating that the mandate of the Committee was not just to receive progress reports but to engage with the Department and Stakeholders on specifics, research and analysis of the Green Paper. Members were concerned that the Department’s report represented a three tier land tenure system rather than four tier system that was in existence and the Department needed to take this into consideration to arrive at a holistic piece of legislation. Members asked about the progress on the ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ policy and what was being done by the Department to facilitate the process.

Members were interested in how the Department intended to achieve its strategic objective of integrated planning with stakeholders considering that the Department lacked a coordinated system and holistic approach to integrated planning and how the Department intended to ensure that all stake holders were on board with the integration plan. Members asked the Department what was being done on its part to address the issue of deadlocked claims between communities and municipalities over communal lands. Members raised the issue of the NARYEC project and asked if the Department engaged with other Departments and the private sector to ensure that the Programme was beneficial both to other departments and to the young people. They also questioned the Department on what it intended to do to ensure that the NARYSEC Youth scheme was actually productive and that the youths were not just benefiting from the stipends without any gain.

Members also asked if the Food Garden Project of the Department was productive, how it intended to implement the Food Garden Project across all provinces and whether the Department would be responsible for the implementation or if the communities would take up the role of implementation


Minutes

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform made two presentations to the Committee - one on the Green Paper on Land Reform and the other on its Annual Performance Plan 2012/13.

Green Paper on Land Reform
Mr Venty Mahlangu, Acting Deputy Director-General (DDG) Land Reform and Administration, presented on the Department’s Green Paper on Land Reform .The presentation discussed key policy questions, policy statements and law reform principles which the Green Paper hoped to address.

The thrust of the presentation discussed the progress made so far by the Department on the Green Paper. The deadline for submission of comments on the Green Paper was 31 December 2011. The Department was required to consolidate comments and submissions and develop policy and legislative proposals. The Minister met with the National Reference Group (NAREG) on Land Reform in November 2011 and constituted five Working Groups in respect of policy proposals made by the Department in the Green Paper, namely: 1. Land Management Commission; 2. Land Rights Management Board and Committees; 3. Office of the Land Valuer General; 4.Three Tier Tenure System; 5.Legislative Amendments and Communal Tenure.

Land Management Commission (LMC)
The working group considered amending Act 126 of 1993, a better option to formulating an entirely new Act of Parliament as it would be a longer process. The proposed amendments to be reflected included making the LMC a creature of statute.  Suggestions were received on the functions and powers of the LMC. Written submissions had been received by the Department.

Land Rights Management Board and Committees (LRMB)
Policy proposals  received by the working group included – consolidation of the LMC and LRMB to avoid overlapping functions, the LRMB to take up mediation role on tenure disputes on commercial farms provided they occur at local level, the LRMB to have clear monitory roles on tenure disputes and evictions, Agri villages in commercial farming areas to only cater for current and ex farm workers and their families - they should not be rural settlements of people with no connection to the farming way of life: no strategy on implementing this policy had been proposed yet.

Office of the Land Valuer General
The Working Group defined the objective of the office as an office established to ensure the State obtained value for money for public resources. Policy proposals received  included - Land and property markets must be efficient and equitable, and the valuation industry must be well regulated, operate according to best practices in terms of standards and be sensitive to the South African environment.

Three Tier Tenure System
The Working Group met on 25 January 2012 to consolidate the work completed in November 2011. Terms of Reference (ToR) were developed for specialist research, analysis, case studies and legal review on the proposed limitations on land holdings and land ceilings. Further ToR were circulated for policy and legislative finalisation of work on ownership of land by foreigners.

Legislative Amendments and Communal Tenure
The Working Group was constituted to consider legislative amendments linked to the Green Paper. The group was tasked with focusing on the amendments of – Communal Property Association Act 1996 (CPA), Restitution of Lands Rights Act 1994, and Review of the Communal Land Rights Act 2004 (CLARA) and related judgement. The Legislation Working Group decided to combine with that on Communal Tenure because of legislative amendment of the CPA Act and legislative development to replace CLARA. Specialist studies and analysis were further required on appropriate land holding entities and their relationship with traditional and local authorities.

Mr Mchlage explained that work on the Green Paper was still ongoing and all Working Groups were to meet at the end of discussions to consolidate reports of each group.

Annual Performance Plan 2012/13
Ms Ntsiki Mashiya, Deputy Director-General (DDG) Corporate Support Services, presented on the Department’s Annual Performance Plan(APP) for 2012/13. The presentation highlighted the vision, mission, strategy, strategic goals and objectives, key priority areas of the Department for 2012/13, programmes of the Department and the proposed financial budget.

Ms Mashiya reported that after feedback from the Auditor-General on its last APP, the Department had streamlined its strategic objectives into eight SMART based objectives. They were - corporate governance and service excellence through compliance with the legal framework achieved by 2014; reformed policy, legislative and institutional environment that was biased towards rural areas by 2014; effective land planning and administration that was biased toward rural areas; integrated institutional arrangements for effective cooperative governance and stakeholder participation by 2014; improved access to affordable and diverse food by 2014; Improved rural services to support sustainable livelihoods by 2014; and improved access to sustainable employment and skills development opportunities by 2014.

Ms Mashiya said the Department had aligned its APP to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Outcome 7. The Department currently coordinated Outcome 7 and contributed to Outcomes 4, 6, 9 and 10 as reflected in its APP.

The Department’s key priorities for 2012/13 as outlined in the APP presentation were; restitution - the Department planned to transfer all validated claims on land by the end of 2012; land reform; rural development; and cadastral services management.

The presentation outlined the Department’s Annual Performance Plan for each for its five programmes (see document) in 2012/2013.

Programme 1: Administration
The Department through this programme would send ten policies to Cabinet to be finalised by the end of the first quarter of 2012. Eleven pieces of legislation were to be sent to Parliament to be finalised by the fourth quarter of 2012.

Programme 2: Geospatial and Cadastre Services 
By the end of 2012 there was to be a fully operational E-Cadastre. The Programme was to commence training of sixty persons in the field of Geomatics before the end of 2012.

Programme 3: Rural Development
The Programme would strengthen service delivery forums by establishing 93 functional service delivery forums across the country. 60 rural communities were to be assisted with agricultural infrastructure services; 1 800 homes were to be profiled for food security intervention; 20 000 households were to access socio-economic infrastructure using the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) model; 3 200 persons were to be assisted to access skills to improve rural households; and 2 980 jobs were to be created through rural development initiatives. 

Programme 4: Restitution
The Programme’s target included ensuring that a total of 380 land rights were restituted or awards of alternative equitable redress finalised by the end of 2012; 133 land claims were to be settled by the end of 2012.

Programme 5: Land Reforms
The Department through this programme intended to acquire 321 122 hectares of strategically located land, recapitalise and develop 416 new farms, create 288 new jobs through recapitalisation, and train 595 farmers.

 Ms Irene Singo, Acting Chief Financial Officer, presented to Members the Department’s budget for 2012. The Department projected an estimated total expenditure of R8 877 566 000 for the year. It allocated R1 096 223 000 to Administration, which included the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) Youth Programme budget; R562 367 000 to Geospatial and Cadastral Services; R934 824 000 to Rural Development; R3 000 000 000 to Restitution; and R3 234 152 000 to Land Reform.

Mr Mduduzi Shabane, the Director-General (DG), in his closing remarks, stated that the Department would present quarterly reports to the Committee which would be more specific on the progress the Department had made on its projections in the APP. The Department was working towards having a clean audit report in the year under consideration. With regards to restitution of lands, great progress had been made on the part of the Department and it intended to intensify its efforts. The Department had enrolled about 7 000 youths involved in the NARYSEC project.  The Department had gone step further and created enterprises which the NAYSEC youth can be involved on their exit from the programme to ensure they were not left unemployed. All policy and legislative reforms that had been proposed by the Department had far reaching consequences on the Department’s budget; it therefore required resources to guarantee proper implementation.


Discussion
Members engaged the Department separately on both of its presentations in a discussion session.

Discussion on Green Paper on Land Reform
Mr A Trollip (DA) was dissatisfied with the Department’s presentation to the Committee on the Green Paper on Land Reform, stating that the mandate of the Committee was not just to receive progress reports but to engage with the Department and stakeholders on specifics, research and analysis of the Green Paper. He also stated that he was not satisfied on the Department’s feedback on issues regarding communal and private land ownership and also ownership of land by foreign nationals.

The DG apologised and explained that the Green Paper presentation might not had contained specific details, but the Department had consulted widely both locally and internationally. Further details on these consultations would be shared with the Committee at a future date.

Mr Trollip highlighted that the Working Groups on the Green Paper did not seem to be in sync. From the presentation by the Department the only two working groups where communication had been established were between the Communal Tenure and Legislation working group and the Legislative Amendments working group.

Mr Trollip stated with concern that the Department’s presentation discussed a three tier land tenure system rather than four tier system that was in existence and the Department needed to take this into consideration to arrive at a holistic piece of legislation.

The DG agreed with Mr Trollip’s stance and stated that even if not clearly spelt out in the Department’s presentation on the Green paper, the Department also acknowledged the four tier land tenure system. Further consultation was still in progress reviewing communal land tenures to produce a separate policy position on Communal land tenure.

Ms Leona Archary, DDG, added that there were representations on the three tier system, excluding communal groups across board including the unions, traditional leaders, commodity sectors, etc.

Nkosi Z Mandela (ANC) stated that as regards the Communal Property Association (CPA) Act, there had been no real representation in the Department's presentation to signify that there had been consultations with traditional leaders on issues of communal land

The DG stated that on the CPA Act, the Department was exploring its options, including the amendment of the Act itself. Amongst other things, the Department was of the opinion that in cases where land had been claimed under the Restitution Act, it might not be appropriate for the Government to set up entities in communal areas and hand land over to a few individuals, creating another entity within an entity and thus leading to instability and inequity.

Nkosi Mandela asked about the progress on the ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ policy and what was being done by the Department to facilitate the process.

Ms Archary responded that for private lands, the Department was considering other models including fair compensation models with regards to private agricultural land sales, where the issue of the willing buyer willing seller would come into play. The Department was also considering the right of first refusal in terms of the State, successful equity scheme models, taxation proposals and different tenure options, etc.

The Chairperson agreed with Mr Trollip stating that there was a need for the Committee to have more details on the consultative work carried out by the Department on the Green Paper so far. He requested that the Department forward the work done in each of the working groups to the Committee for its further consultation, along with the final consolidated report.

Discussion on Annual Performance Plan 2012/13
Mr Mandela asked if the Department had achieved its vision as highlighted in its presentation.

The DG responded that the vision of the Department was a long term statement and that the current administration was only mid way through; however, progress was being made even though the vision had not fully been actualised.

Nkosi Mandela asked how the Department intended to achieve its strategic objective of integrated planning with stakeholders considering that the Department lacked a coordinated system and holistic approach to integrated planning.

Ms N November (ANC) also asked how the Department intended to ensure that all stake holders were on board with the integration plan

Ms Archary responded that a task team had been set up between the national and provincial Departments to help with the integration. The same principles used with the council of stakeholders was being incorporated and used in the integration plan and it had worked in specific communities in the Western Cape and a few other provinces. This same approach was to be adopted at the district level; hence the Department had adopted the rural development business plan per district in terms of the 23 identified by cabinet.

Nkosi Mandela asked the Department what was being done on its part to address the issue of deadlocked claims between communities and municipalities over communal lands.

The DG replied that the Department was aware of the negative impacts of restitution particularly in the Eastern Cape. A high level team had been constituted at the cabinet level and the Department was on this team and fully engaged in dialogue and consultations with stakeholders. Also, some of the issues had been taken to court and were pending.

Mr Mandela drew the attention of Members to the Departments forecast target of having a 25% audit of management action plans implemented by the end of the first quarter of 2012. He asked if the Department had met this target.

The Chairperson responded and cautioned that the APP before the Committee was a futuristic report, hence Members needed to be mindful of this in questioning the Department on its performance.

Mr Trollip commended the Department on streamlining its objectives to eight achievable and more realistic objectives. However, he cautioned that the Department needed to be more realistic in the targets it had set for itself.

Ms Mashiya responded that the targets the Department had set for itself were based on its performance in the previous year.

Mr Trollip asked the Department what factors were key in ensuring productivity in the area of land reforms.

Mr Mchlage responded that the recapitalisation and development plans ensured productivity in land reforms. He stated that factors such as model designed farms, access to market and retailers, a full value chain, etc, were all indicators in ensuring productivity.

Mr Trollip questioned if the budgetary allocations the Department had made were crafted with its historical performance taken into consideration.

No specific response came from the Department on this.

Mr Trollip asked if the projections the Department had made in its APP with regards to capacity of surveyors and their qualifications were realistic. Mr Mandela also questioned the Department on its plan to train sixty Geomatic Officers for the year under review and asked how it intended to implement the training scheme.

Mr Mmuso Riba, Chief Surveyor General, responded that there was a shortage of surveyors in South Africa and the Department had put in place a long term strategy to address this shortage. Over 85% of studying surveyors in the country were being sponsored by the Department. The Department also organized in house training and exposure of matriculants, to encourage students to pursue careers in Survey. The in-house training of surveyors commenced in 2008 and the first group graduated in 2010. The next group were expected to graduate June 2012. Recruitment of the next set of trainee Geomatic officers was to commence in July 2012. A total of 60 trainees were to be recruited from all provinces, including rural areas.

Mr Trollip asked if the number of restitution claims to be settled which the Department had projected were based on actual claims that had already been lodged or if they were just forecasts.

Mr Trollip asked what the Department was doing to ensure that the revitalisation of the irrigation scheme was a once off scheme and not a perennial scheme.

Ms P Ngwenya-Mabila (ANC) also commended the Department on the revitalisation of the irrigation scheme but questioned if the Department was carrying out the scheme in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture to ensure that there were no duplication of projects

Mr Mchlage responded that the revitalisation of the irrigation scheme project of the Department was riding on projects within the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and other national departments. It was difficult to guarantee a once-off investment in irrigation schemes but the Department would consider the business plan and make future projections from it.

Ms Archary added that the implementation of the agricultural infrastructure was to be rolled out across all provinces.

Mr Trollip asked how the Department intended to carry out its training scheme for farmers.

Mr Mchlage responded that the Department was working to capacitate farmers in farming and other soft skills such as financial management. The Department planned to give preference to NARYSEC youth and absorb them gradually to ensure a sustained source of livelihood for them.

Mr S Ntapane (UDM) questioned if it was wise for the Department to set objectives without quarterly targets as he had noted in some of the Department’s targets.

Ms Ngwenya-Mabila also noted that the APP presentation which the Department had made did not display a consistency in the plans of the Department.

Ms Mashiya explained the discrepancies in the Department’s presentation to Members especially the E- Cadastre issue which she explained was a major project of the Department and not a Programme per se, hence the absence of quarterly forecasts. She said the Department would ensure its future APPs were consistent.

Mr Ntapane asked if the Department’s strategic objective on effective land planning biased towards rural areas had commenced.

Mr Riba explained the processes that had so far been carried out by the Department on survey and planning of land to Members. Given the shortage in surveyors within the Department, it had awarded survey contracts to private land surveyors who bided for the contracts. Most of the contracts were yet to be finished as the private surveyors underestimated the job. To rescue the situation and speed up the process, the Department had broken the blocks of land to be surveyed into smaller blocks and re-awarded the contracts. 

Ms Ngwenya-Mabila noted that the Department needed to capacitate the Council of Stakeholders with reference to the CRDP projects to be rolled out in 22 municipalities.

Ms Archary stated that the Department was aware of the need to capacitate its Council of Stakeholders and had commenced training programmes across different municipalities to take care of this.

Dr Moshe Swartz, DDG, added that the capacity building of stakeholders had commenced in response to the Department's objective of integrated planning as the Council of Stakeholders were key participants in the integration and the Department had commenced capacity building and courses through all the provinces.

Ms Ngwenya-Mabila also noted with concern the time taken in handing over CRDP projects and she stated it was an area the Department needed to address.

Ms Archary explained that the CRDP projects were carried out in conjunction with the Department of Human Settlements and the respective provincial governments were responsible for the hand over of the projects, hence the delays. However, the Department intended to improve on the time frame for handing over future CRDP projects.

Ms Ngwenya-Mabila asked for further clarification from the Department on the South African Council of Planners referenced in the Department’s presentation – what was its role and to whom did the body report?

Ms Singo explained that the South African Council of Planners was established in terms of planning professionals. It was the body responsible for regulating the planning profession in South Africa and also responsible for regulating its members. It was comprised of Government officials, planners in private practice and civil societies representing the interest of the larger society. The Council was directly accountable to the Minister. The Department currently has a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Council and under the MOA the Council reported to the Department quarterly while the Department offered financial and technical support to the Council.

Ms Ngwenya-Mabila raised the issue of the NARYEC project and asked if the Department engaged with other departments and the private sector to ensure that the Programme was beneficial both to other departments and to the young people.

Mr J van der Linde (DA) also questioned the Department on what it intended to do to ensure that the NARYSEC Youth scheme was actually productive and that the youths were not just benefiting from the stipends without any gain.

Ms Ngwenya-Mabila decried the use of percentages in place of actual figures in the Department's presentation; hence projections of the Department were vague and not ascertainable during monitoring visits of the Committee.

Ms Mashiya responded that the Department would ensure it that used actual values in its reports to the Committee in future.

Mr Van der Linde stated that it would had been expedient if the Department had provided the Committee with a progress report on its 2011/12 APP, especially as regard budgetary allocations so the Committee could make comparisons and ascertain the Department's budgetary estimations for the 2012/13 period.

The DG, while agreeing, stated that the APP document handed out to Members had actually shown the progress of the Department in the previous year.

Mr Van Der Linde asked if the Food Garden Project of the Department was productive and if they were helping with food supply to the people of South Africa.

Mr Mandela also asked how the Department intended to implement the Food Garden Project across all provinces and whether the Department would be responsible for the implementation, or if the communities would take up the role of implementation.

Dr Swartz responded that the Department had not made as much progress as it had projected with the Food Garden Project. A total of 900 food gardens, 100 per province, were commenced and the projects had been bedevilled with many challenges from inception - lack of sufficient water, gardens too far from pipes where alternative sources of water were provided, etc The Department had also recorded success stories with the project. Some communities entered into supply contracts with large retail chain stores, to supply fresh vegetables and fruits. The Department planned to expand the project from 900 to 1 800 gardens in 2012 and shift from strictly food gardens to livelihood sustenance. Where acute water shortage had affected food gardens in the previous year, the Department planned to encourage community members to take up other livelihood sustenance projects such as the rearing of livestock or poultry.

The Chairperson thanked the Department for its presentations and the interactive session held with Members. He stressed the need for the Department to furnish the Committee with further details both on the Green Paper and its Annual Performance Plan, ahead of its budget debate before Parliament.

The meeting was adjourned.