Department of Rural Development & Land Reform & Ingonyama Trust Board: continuation of Annual Report issues

Committee: Rural Development and Land Reform

Chairperson: Mr J Thibedi (ANC)

Date of Meeting: 23 Oct 2013

Summary

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) reported on the outcomes of the state land audit, which had been conducted to determine how much land was owned by the state, what was it used for, and who were the occupants or users. The audit was conducted on all spheres of government, and the former homelands, public land held by the Ingonyama Trust and land of the state owned enterprises. It had, however, excluded land not registered. The audit provided statistical information pertaining to land ownership, specifying gender, race (where obtainable), nationality or citizenship, percentage between companies and individuals. The distribution of registered state land parcels, per province, was then outlined, indicating the number of land parcels held by the state in each province, the size and percentage that this represented of all state-owned land. A comparison of the purposes for which land was then provided.

The second presentation by the DRDLR was on the Recapitalisation and Development Programme (RDP), undertaken from inception of the programme to date. The Department had that most land reform projects were not successful and were in distress, or had failed due to lack of adequate and appropriate post-settlement support, with much of the land in danger of being auctioned. The Department had taken a conscious decision to conceptualise and implement the recapitalisation and development programme as an all-encompassing and concerted effort to ensure productivity and food security, and had tried to align the programme and policy. The whole programme was currently being reviewed by the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, through the University of Pretoria. The DRDLR noted that the mandate of land reform was that all land reform farms should be 100% productive by the year 2015/16, to rekindle the class of black commercial farmers which was destroyed by the Native Land Act of 1913, and would try also to reduce the rural to urban population flow. Between 1994 and March 2013, 4 860 farms had been transferred to black people and communities through the redistribution programme only, accounting for more than 4 million hectares. Almost 250 000 people had benefited through land reform, of whom 50 000 were women, 32 000 were youth, and 674 were persons on disability benefits. 1 351 farms also recapitalised, and over 7 400 jobs were created since the inception. The investment had topped R2 billion, which supported emerging farmers, through partnerships with commercial farmers, with comprehensive support through infrastructure development, acquisition of mechanisation, entrepreneurial support, production inputs, markets access and integration into the value chain, over a five year period. As at December 2012, the net income from those recapitalised farms was a cumulative R126 million. There were still several challenges. These included over-expenditure, deviations, paying in advance for services without achieving value, failure to submit monthly and quarterly reports, under-expenditure, cross subsidisation of some projects with funds from the others, failure to adhere to the business plans and implementation plans, failure to account for funds released or to remedy breaches. There were also failures around purchase of quality livestock and good infrastructure, poor workmanship, failure to follow procurements and to transfer skills.

The Department briefly noted that the Spatial Planning Land Use Management Act was signed into operation by the President on 2 August 2013. It would ensure that the system of spatial planning and land use management promoted social and economic inclusion, and redressed the imbalances of the past, particularly aligning land use planning with the Constitution. Municipalities would now have full responsibility for land use and land development applications within their areas of jurisdiction, and should adopt single land-use schemes to be reviewed every five years.

The final presentation was given by the Ingonyama Trust Board, who briefly outlined the progress made in the 2012/13 financial year, with more residential applications for tenure rights, which was an encouraging indicator of the way people viewed the value of secured tenure rights. 1 611 applications for land tenure rights were received during the 2012/13 financial year, and 859 were approved. The board continued to play its important role in its contribution towards the provision of housing in the province of KwaZulu Natal.

Members asked a number of questions around recapitalisation and development programme, training and skills transfer, including the numbers of people trained, the amount of state owned land, the budget spend through recapitalisation and development programme and whether it might be possible to extend the Gauteng boundaries through the demarcation process, given its small size and large population.
 


Minutes

Department of Rural Development and Land Reform: Land Audit presentation
Mr Mmuso Riba, Chief Surveyor General: National Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, noted that the land audit would reflect the results of the audit of all registered State land and the desktop analysis of private land ownership. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR), as the custodian of cadastral information for the Republic of South Africa, had initiated this land audit project. A full audit was conducted for State owned land, and a desktop analysis for privately owned land.

Mr Riba said that the aim of the state land audit was to determine how much land was owned by the state, what was it used for, and who were the occupants or users. The audit was conducted on all spheres of government, and the former homelands, public land held by the Ingonyama Trust and land of the state owned enterprises. It had, however, excluded land not registered. The audit provided statistical information pertaining to land ownership in the Republic of South Africa in terms of gender, race (not obtainable), and nationality or citizenship, and the percentage share, where an individual owned land as a result of company ownership (which was not yet available), as well as information on marital status, and living status.

Mr Riba outlined the distribution of registered state land parcels, per province. The Eastern Cape had 113 195 land parcels, and 1 510 553 hectares of state owned land, which was 9% of all state-owned land. The Free State province had 163 012 land parcels, and 845 084 hectares of state owned land, which was 5%. Gauteng had 249 057 land parcels, 304 137 hectares of state owned land, which was 2%. The KwaZulu Natal province had 148 956 land parcels, which was 4 695 245 hectares of state owned land and 28%. The Limpopo province had 53 203 land parcels, 2 551 790 hectares of state owned, at 15%. The Mpumalanga province had 115 109 land parcels, 1 875 146 hectares of state owned land and the percentage stood at 11%. The North-West province had 139 186 land parcels, which was 2 409 778 hectares or 14%. The Northern Cape had 56 263 land parcels, 1 829 347 hectares of state owned land and the percentage stood at 11%. The Western Cape Province had 117 527 land parcels, or 1 040 801 state owned hectares, and the percentage stood at 6%. In total, the number of land parcels was 1 155 508, the extent of this was 17 061 882 hectares, which accounted for 100% of state-owned land.

Mr Riba described the state land parcels by category. State owned entities had 74 053 land parcels. The extent in hectares was 3 812 228, and the percentage was 22.3%. The number of land parcels owned at municipal level was 58 856, with 2 105 933 hectares in extent, and the percentage was 12.3%. The number of land parcels under national department control was 919 267, in extent 6 870 301 hectares, which was 40.3%. The number of land parcels owned provincially was 99 891, of 3 179 908 hectares and the percentage was 18.6%.

Mr Riba then set out a comparison of the purposes for which land was used, by hectare. Agriculture and fisheries accounted for 4 027 051, commercial was 1 224 271, community services was 1 813 128, conservation was 1 867 708, forestry was 1 540 268, industrial and storage was 1 540 268, mining 53 037, protection services was 353 841, recreation and leisure 2 716 311, un-matched general plan was 17 579, residential was 3 456 202, transport was 568 225, undeveloped or vacant land was 2 061 662, and utilities and infrastructure was 492 249, while water was 176 138. It was reported that private land ownership by individuals was 46 582 643, by companies was 21 479 583, by trust was 25 821 476, by private organisations was 2 665 526, and the non classified private land was 1 564. It was reported that the majority of the individual land in the country was owned by males rather than females.

Recapitalisation and development programme presentation
Mr Vusi Mahlangu, Deputy Director General: Land Reform and Administration, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform said that in 2009 the Department undertook an evaluation of the implementation of the land reform programme, since its inception. The Department identified that most land reform projects were not successful and were thus in distress, or had failed due to lack of adequate and appropriate post-settlement support. Further to that, most land acquired through the various sub-programmes such as the land and agricultural development programme was on the verge of being auctioned. It was reported that the Department took the conscious decision to conceptualise and implement the recapitalisation and development programme as an all-encompassing and concerted effort to ensure productivity and food security. The Department undertook several consultations with all stakeholders to align the implementation of the programme with the policy to enforce compliance. Currently, the programme was under review by the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency, through the University of Pretoria.

Mr Mahlangu said that the mandate of land reform was that all land reform farms should be 100% productive by the year 2015/16, to rekindle the class of black commercial farmers which was destroyed by the Native Land Act of 1913. Land reform was further intended to significantly reduce the rural to urban population flow.

Mr Mahlangu said that the progress of land reform to date was that, between 1994 and the end of March 2013, 4 860 farms had been transferred to black people and communities through the redistribution programme only. This accounted for more than 4 million hectares. Almost 250 000 people had benefited through land reform, of whom 50 000 were women, 32 000 were youth, and 674 were persons on disability benefits. Speaking to the development aspect of land reform, he noted that 1 351 farms were recapitalised to date, and over 7 400 jobs were created since the inception of recapitalisation and development programme. The total investment by the state since the inception of the recapitalisation programme was R2.14 billion. This investment had supported the emerging farmers with comprehensive support through infrastructure development, acquisition of mechanisation, entrepreneurial support, production inputs, markets access and integration into the value chain, over a five year period. All those interventions were made possible through partnerships with commercial farmers. As at December 2012, the net income from those recapped farms was a cumulative R126 million.

Mr Mahlangu summarised the land reform performance, per province, to date (see attached presentation for full details), giving the total number of projects, the number of strategic partners involved, the number of hectares and the budget spend.  In total, the number of projects was 1 351, number of strategic partners was 437, number of hectares was 1 171 900, and the budget spend through recapitalisation and development programme was R2.1 billion.

Mr Mahlangu said that there were still a number of challenges faced by the Department. These included over-expenditure without approvals, deviations without approvals, paying in advance for services and later not getting value for money, failure to submit monthly and quarterly reports, under-expenditure, cross subsidisation of some projects with funds from the others, failure to adhere to the business plan and implementation plan, failure to account for the funds released, failure to remedy breaches of contract, despite numerous requests to do so, failure to meet the deliverables set for the strategic partner mentors, and failure to provide training for the Department’s beneficiaries. Other challenges included a failure to buy quality livestock and good infrastructure, failure to be on the farm when required by the beneficiary, or as stipulated in the contracts, poor workmanship, failure to follow the procurement procedure, and failure to transfer skills.

Mr Mahlangu said that at the start of the survey project in 2011, the Department had envisaged surveying an estimated 3,5 million hectares of un-surveyed state land in the former homelands. Those areas were located in the former homeland sectors of the Limpopo, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga province. During the 2012/13 financial year, 2 350 375 hectares, out of the targeted balance of 2.7 million hectares, were surveyed. The figure also included Quitrent Erven in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo section of the Kruger National Park. The overall achievement of the project was 95%.

Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA) presentation
Mr Sunday Ogunronbi, Executive Manager: Spatial Planning & Information, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, said that the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA) was signed into law by the President on 2 August 2013.  The most important aims of SPLUMA were ensuring that the system of spatial planning and land use management promoted social and economic inclusion, and redressed the imbalances of the past in the application of spatial development planning and land use management systems. One of the most important purposes of SPLUMA was to align land use planning with the provisions of the Constitution. Some significant changes were introduced in relation to the distribution of power across the different spheres of government. Municipalities would now have full responsibility for land use and land development applications within their area of jurisdiction. Another notable feature of the rationalisation was that municipalities should, within five years of the commencement of the Act, adopt a single land-use scheme for each area of jurisdiction, which would be reviewed every five years in line with the preparation of municipal Integrated Development Plans (IDP).  The Act seemed to promote consistency and uniformity in procedures and decision-making in the field of land use.

Ingonyama Trust Board
Mr Nqgabutho Bhebhe, Chief Executive Officer, Ingonyama Trust Board, said that the financial year 2012/13 witnessed an increase in residential applications for tenure rights, and that had been an encouraging indicator that more and more people residing on land under the jurisdiction of Ingonyama Trust Board were seeing the value of secured tenure rights in the form of leasehold. 1 611 applications for land tenure rights were received during the 2012/13 financial year, and 859 were approved. That amounted to an increase of 652 applications from the 2011/12 financial year. The increase in applications could be attributed to the employment of additional staff on contract basis. The Ingonyama Trust Board continued to play an important role in the contribution towards the provision of housing in the province of Kwazulu Natal.

Discussion
Mr K Mileham (DA) asked why the recapitalisation and development programme supported only 20% of projects. He wanted to know if Department of Rural Development and Land Reform had monitoring and evaluation, and reporting mechanisms in place.

Mr M Swathe (DA) asked if the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform had looked at the ground level or communities before putting the money into those provinces. He then asked how many people had received training from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, and how municipalities were going to implement SPLUMA.

Ms P Xaba (ANC) noted that the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform was doing good work and it was helping people. However, she noted that there was not a large extent of land in Gauteng province, but the population was growing every year. She then asked if there was a possibility of increasing the Gauteng province through demarcation processes.

Ms P Ngwenya-Mabila (ANC) asked what the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform did to monitor and assess the work of provinces, and how the SPLUMA dealt with State land that was sold to private individuals.

Ms S November (ANC) asked about the time-frame for getting strategic partners on board.

Mr Riba replied that slide 7 of the land audit talked about the land registered in the name of the municipality. Slide 9 of the land audit talked about users of the property, when the land was not in his or her name. For example, an RDP house might be occupied by someone whose house was not registered in her or his name, but in the name of government. Land was used for different purposes. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform was hoping to deal with R8 million that was unaccounted for. This Department, and the Department of Public Works, had been working on the master plan to deal with land issues.

Mr Mahlangu replied that training on the farms and theoretical training had been offered to a number of people in provinces. Training on the farm was more like learning from doing the job itself. The Department had done some studies on restitution and redistribution of land. Over expenditure happened as a result of itemisation. It was reported that not all strategic partners were bad, but some were good. Where the Department did not finalise business plans, it was difficult to put time frames for strategic partners. Not all the projects were in a bad state, but some needed improvement. Some projects were run by investors who brought in their own money.

The Chairperson noted that one day he hoped that those who already had a large amount of land in South Africa would come on board and share the land with others, because land had always been an important tool for economic development, social cohesion and a source of food. He then thanked the Department for the presentations.

The meeting was adjourned