Progress on current recapitalisation and revitalisation Projects in all the provinces; Progress in selected outstanding land claims in Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo

NCOP Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy

21 May 2013
Chairperson: Ms A Qikani (Eastern Cape, ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs (Committee) opened the meeting with the contention that it appeared that the presentation on the Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan was not sufficiently detailed, as had been presented to the Portfolio Committee. However, a further problem for the Committee was that it had not received the documents to be presented by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform until the day of the meeting and therefore could not prepare for the meeting. After brief deliberation, the Committee decided to receive the presentations by the Department but not engage or debate issues that day.

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform presented a progress report on current Recapitalisation and Revitalisation Projects in the provinces and. Between 2009 (inception) to March 2013, R2 billion had been injected into the projects across the provinces and gross income generated by farmers was R600 million. Of the 1269 farm projects in the provinces, there were 107 strategic partners and 7464 people working on those farms. To date, 459 of the 1269 projects fell within the 23 ‘poor’ districts and a further 260 projects were expected to be implemented in the current financial year. The target for the Land Reform Programme in the current financial year was 311917 hectares of strategically-located, acquired and allocated land. Key commodities were red meat, broiler, grain and sugar cane. The budget allocation for 2013/14 was R1.3 billion for 540 projects across the provinces.
The Commission on Restitution of Land Rights (DRDLR) had received approximately 25 965 claims in respect of the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces. It had settled 24 332 claims (Ministerial approval) and finalised 10 444 claims (awards were fully paid up and properties had been transferred). In 2012/13, a total of 218 claims had been settled and 170 claims had been finalized. The terms of the rights claimed were currently being unpacked by the respective provincial offices. Outstanding claims as at 31 March 2013 was 56 in the Free Sates, 2045 in KwaZulu Natal, 643 in Limpopo and 2879 in Mpumalanga. The total number of outstanding claims for these provinces was 5623.The total budget for all projects in the four provinces was R1.9 billion.
 

Meeting report

Committee
The Chairperson remarked that the Committee had not received any relevant documents from Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) prior to the meeting and therefore could not prepare for the meeting. It also appeared as if the documents were not as detailed as those presented to the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform. She asked the DRDLR what the reasons were for not submitting the documents beforehand.

Mr Pule Sekawana, Acting Deputy Director-General: Corporate Services, DRDLR, replied that a number of relevant reports to address questions relating to the progress in particular, such as on the latest shortfalls and shortcomings had been difficult to access from some of the districts and provinces. He apologised for this delay and expected that the situation would not re-occur in future.

The Chairperson asked what the DRDLR expected from the Committee during the meeting.

Mr Sekawana replied that, given the situation, the call on how to proceed would have to come from the Committee.

The Chairperson said that a serious interrogation and debate on the documents was scheduled for the meeting but that this would not be possible now. She asked Members for their comments.

Mr D Worth (DA; Free State) said that the situation was totally unacceptable. The presentations handed out were about land restitution and claims, but there were no figures which would assist with the speech he would have to give on the budget thereof. He required a presentation on the figures – at least how much money was allocated for each project.

The Chairperson asked how the projects were tracked and monitored.

Ms Sekawana replied that the DRDLR was in the process of implementing an enterprise-wide electronic system for monitoring. The challenge with the delay in receiving reports on progress from districts and provinces was due to having plans but not sufficient report targets. The presentation was structured around questions that had been asked on progress and maturity of the projects. In terms of the budget, figures on the funds per project could be provided for the Committee if they so desired.

Ms B Mabe (ANC; Gauteng) proposed that the Committee should meet for ten minutes to discuss the way forward.

The meeting was adjourned for ten minutes.

The Chairperson then announced that the Committee had resolved to receive the presentations but that no questions would be posed to the DLDLR. However, the Committee would be writing a letter to the Minister so that the issue would be on record.

Mr Sekawana thanked the Committee for reconsidering the matter and apologised again. He added that the current and following financial year Annual Performance Plan as well as the following year’s Strategic Plan were focused on land reform projects, in particular, land restitution, as it related to the 1913 Land Act centenary and the re-opening of the lodgement of restitution claims to the individuals and communities that missed the deadline of 31 December 1998, as per the gazette. However, the presentation would be focused on the recapitalisation programme and projects.

Briefing on Recapitalisation and Development Programme (RADP)
Mr Vusi Mahlangu, Deputy Director-General: Land Reform and Administration; DRDLR outlined the objectives of the RADP before presenting the progress and highlights of the RADP projects in the provinces.

Between 2009 to March 2013, R2 billion had been injected into the projects across the provinces and gross income generated by farmers was R600 million. Of the 1269 farm projects in the provinces, there were 107 strategic partners and 7464 people working on those farms.

The target for the Land Reform Programme for Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS) and RADP for the current financial year, if resources allowed, was 311917 hectares of strategically-located, acquired and allocated land.

Support for recapitalisation and development was extended to beneficiaries and communities, and the time period of this support depended on the duration of their need. The target for supporting existing farms was 386 farms and for new farms, it was 344 farms.

To date, 459 of the 1269 projects fell within the 23 ‘poor’ districts and a further 260 projects were expected to be implemented in the current financial year.

The budget allocation for 2013/14 was R1.3 billion for 540 projects across the provinces. A breakdown of the number of projects per province were listed on slide 6 of the presentation.


The RADP projects were multi-year projects, which meant that their impact was realised over a period of time, depending on the commodity. The key commodities were red meat, broiler, grain and sugar cane. Many of the red meat farms had reached 85% production levels and 132 permanent jobs had been created since the first pilot project by Bloemfontein Abattoirs. Six high-level broiler projects in the North West and one in the Free State had been recapitalised since inception and the national poultry plan prioritised increasing poultry meat supply from Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Gauteng and Free State provinces. Those farmers were now commercial broiler producers and each farm was running at least seven cycles (25-40 days) per annum. The highest Black commercial producer assisted by RADP was producing about 528 000 ready-to-slaughter broiler birds per cycle.

The16 farms under the Grain SA programme, which assisted with machinery and input costs, collectively planted 2400 ha of maize and sunflower. In the current financial year, this programme had been rolled out to 30 new farms in North West, Mpumalanga and Gauteng provinces.

The land reform transfers represented 21% of land under commercial sugar cane production in KwaZulu-Natal (371 075 ha) and this would increase to 50% (land owned by Black sugar cane producers), should the gazetted land claims be settled timeously. DRDLR had invested over R98 million to support emerging sugar cane growers which had resulted in 4524 ha being planted and 347 permanent and seasonal jobs being created.

Commission on Restitution of Land Rights (CRLR) progress on outstanding land claims in Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo and budget projections for the 2013/14 year
Ms Nomfundo Gobodo, Chief Land Claims Commissioner: DRDLR, said since inception, the CRLR had received approximately 25 965 claims in respect of the above four provinces, had settled 24 332 claims (Ministerial approval) and finalised 10 444 claims (awards were fully paid up and properties had been transferred). In 2012/13, a total of 218 claims had been settled and 170 claims had been finalized. The terms of the rights claimed were currently being unpacked by the respective provincial offices.

Lodged, settled and finalised claims from inception to 31 March 2013 for the four provinces were listed (see page 4 of the document). Outstanding claims as at 31 March 2013 was 56 in the Free Sates, 2045 in KwaZulu Natal, 643 in Limpopo and 2879 in Mpumalanga. The total number of outstanding claims for these provinces was 5623.

The budget projections for 2013/14 for the four provinces were listed on page 7. Limpopo, KwaZulu Natal and Mpumalanga generally had the largest budget in the Claims Commission owing to the nature of the claims. Complex claims required expert attention. The total budget for all projects in the four provinces was R1.9 billion.

The Chairperson thanked DRDLR for the presentations.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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