"One Woman, One Hectare of Land" CGE Report; Rural Development & Land Reform Budget Review & Recommendations Report

Rural Development and Land Reform

28 October 2015
Chairperson: Ms P Ngwenya-Mabila (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

BRRR 2015-2010: Budgetary Review & Recommendations Reports

The Commission for Gender Equality presented on its proposed campaign called One Woman, One Hectare of Land’. The campaign aims to mainstream gender equality, for it was proposed that the State should allocate one hectare of land, for the growing of food, to the poorest rural female-run households. It was believed that this would help alleviate poverty and empower rural women. It was pointed out that where women had land, their families generally were better nourished, better educated and able to move on. Land rights should be passed on officially to such women and they should then be able to build the skills of their children and pass the land to them in due course. Success stories were shared of an Afrikaaner family who had assisted workers to access land in 2006, and it was believed that this could be replicated for women. The CGE had proposed a Bill to guarantee rights and responsibilities for women. This was similar to the One Hectare Fund that had been successful in Kenya. Members from the DA noted that they had visited similar projects that had facilitated interaction and diversification and believed that such empowerment projects offered the ideal model for land reform. The DA supported private property rights. The current system, based on patriarchy, failed to tackle head-on the sensitivity around traditional leaders. Members asked how different land availability would be addressed. The UDM also supported the concept but felt that there was a need for more research, and pointed out that there were already structures that allowed women to participate, but they did not. Members asked if enough research had been done into the viability of the project. Some Members cautioned that whilst there was sensitivity around traditional structures, it must be pointed out that there was considerable value in traditional leadership. One Member said that he was not in favour of this project as it seemed similar to one in Agulhas where there had been numerous problems, and it had been indicated that one hectare of land was not economically viable. Another suggested that more interaction was needed with the Department of Women in the Presidency, and the point was also made that although the efforts to reshape the gender landscape were appreciated, the CGE might not be going about this in quite the right way. Members then tended towards an ideological debate around the concept of private ownership of land, added to later on by a Member of the EFF who stated that the EFF could not support any concept that perpetuated a system of private ownership as a means of redress; the EFF would like eventually to see land being returned to the state. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform noted the presentation but also said there was a need for more engagement, and clarified that the idea was one hectare of land for women-run households, not for all individual women. It was agreed that the Committee needed to set aside considerable time to debate the type of land ownership in question. Members suggested that the campaign should also be explained to the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture.

Members debated the Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report, agreed that some technical corrections were necessary, and suggested the need for an impact assessment on the Ingonyama Trust. Once again, the EFF raised its objections in principle to the Report, although it was a correct reflection of the discussions in the Committee, because it was based on the National Development Plan which the EFF did not support. Members noted that it was up to beneficiaries to instruct he Department whether they wished to accept land or financial compensation when their claims were accepted. They discussed whether there should be a recommendation not to increase the budget, given that the Department had been unable to spend in full, but concluded that it had such important aims that it could not be hampered by insufficient funding. There were reasons linked to research on land claims why it had not been able to spend in the last year, but it was hoped that it would be ready to do so in the following year. The majority of Members adopted the Report.

Meeting report

Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) presentation: “One Woman, One Hectare of Land’ campaign
Ms Thoko Mpumlwana, Deputy Chairperson, Commission for Gender Equality, said that the Commission (or CGE) was grateful for the opportunity to present. She apologised for the absence of the Chairperson of the commission.

She listed the basic assumptions of the CGE: a belief in equality of men and women as it was a human right; the need to find strategies to deal with socio economic challenges; the need to ensure that all sectors would work together; consensus that rural development was at the core of the country's development plan; and that investment in women would help poverty eradication.

She then described the campaign “One Woman, One Hectare of Land”. This campaign was aimed at mainstreaming gender equality in government’s land reform programme. The campaign was aimed at the state agreeing to allocate a minimum of one hectare of land or more, to the poorest women in the country, in urban, peri-urban and rural areas. This must be done so that the beneficiaries could use the one hectare for housing or growing food, in a sustainable way.

The statistics noted that women constituted only 13% of the total number of the beneficiaries of the land reform process. There were, however, higher levels of poverty among female-headed households than in male-headed households in South Africa. Children whose mothers owned land were less likely to be severely malnourished or underweight. Families where women owned more land devoted more of their budget to education.

The development objectives of the campaign included a black empowerment initiative which would be targeting landless and poor communities, principally women, with a view to transferring land rights and creating an inheritance for their children as well as allowing members of the family to acquire the knowledge and skills to pass on to the next generations.

A success story was shared of an Afrikaaner farmer who had assisted 30 coloured retrenched workers to access 600 hectares of land in 2006. She added that there was a Bill in the pipeline as a framework to guarantee rights and responsibilities of all involved parties. Lastly, the One Hectare Fund in Kenya supported 200  000 farmers across several African countries and hopefully that could be replicated in South Africa, with the Land Bank being a funding institution, so that no new structure would be needed.

Mr T Walters (DA) said he visited a project and found that it offered a system where beneficiaries own the land and set themselves working goals. It had facilitated interaction which leads to diversification. He suggested that all Members should visit a project as there were lessons of empowerment to be learnt. That was an ideal model for land reform in South Africa. The DA’s position was stated as being in favour of private property rights as a means for redress.

Mr Walters expressed concern over leaving land allocation issues in the hands of a patriarchal system because he said that there was too much tip-toeing around the issue of traditional leaders. He fully agreed with the need for a process that would favour woman holding land, as women were the ones who often stayed in rural areas. He asked how the differences in hectares across provinces were being addressed.

Mr M Filtane (UDM) said that the UDM would like to associate with the concept as it made sense. He asked if any research had been done which reflected that males failed to use land to the benefit of their female counterparts. The presentation said that the Communal Property Association was male-dominated, but he pointed out that often women often hold back in community meetings and did not make themselves available to these positions. He wondered about the correlation between poverty among female-headed households and fewer women owning land, and how women owning land would solve this problem? A technical question was asked on research done to show if the project was economically viable and could sustain households while producing income.

Ms N Magadla (ANC) requested clarification  on what was meant by the word “gender”. She requested an example of what would be regarded as a woman from a rural area, and said that this was about creation of jobs and women empowerment.

Mr A Madella (ANC) said that the ANC would not support a campaign like this. There was a similar project in the Cape Agulhas, and there the land owners could note numerous problems. Concern was expressed about the potential limitations of the campaign, as interaction with emerging farmers had indicated that an economically viable farm needed more than one hectare of land. More needed to be done so women could own as much land as men. He requested the opportunity to study the statistics from Kenya.

Mr E Nchabeleng (ANC) said that the CGE was making everyone think more deeply about liberation of the most oppressed people. The issue of one hectare not being enough had already been raised but in some areas even five hectares was not enough. There was a sentiment that woman could not be excluded any more. When looking at settled restitution claims, he asked how many women were disempowered through the traditional way of doing things. He asked how this would be redressed. Interest was shown in the involvement of the entity with the Department of Women in the Presidency, as it was clear that some interventions were needed. However, he was worried about the suggestion that tradition equated to “medieval structure”, pointing out that traditions need to be respected and traditional leaders could not be condemned and then expected to cooperate. 

Mr P Mnguni (ANC) said he appreciated the relentless efforts to reshape the gender landscape. He said that he was unsure if the entry point should be private property rights, as it might limit the amount of redress possible. Remarks around conceptualisation and theories of feminism and race were made but he stressed that CGE should not direct its remarks at race and class. He requested that a quantitative analysis should be done. The Committee would look forward to seeing the gender equality redistribution bill.

Mr Walters advised Committee Members that the media was present. The point on  private property rights was made because it was pointless to reach the stage where a system that did not empower people replaced another system similar to it. The real objective should be to have women participate in the economy and change the power relationship between men and women. Mr Walters suggested the Members should not seek to “fight an election campaign” during the meeting but instead to engage with the presentation.

Mr Nchabeleng said that private ownership of land was foreign ideology.

Mr Walters said that he had no difficulty having this debate, but it had become ideological, and added no value to the current agenda. He cautioned that Committee Members were getting into a debate outside the areas presented.

Mr Nchabaleng retorted that, having spent some time imprisoned, with letters being censored, he did not want to return to a situation where his words were being censored again. He repeated that the concept of private ownership was foreign ideology. He suggested that the example of Zimbabwe should be studied to ensure that the mistakes made with its its land reform processes would not be repeated in South Africa. The ANC had already done much, but there was  more to do and this campaign could be supported as women needed access to equality.

A speaker from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) said that the campaign was appreciated, as it focused on rural women, but this Department needed to engage further with the CGE. The campaign had actually been speaking to one hectare of land for each household run by a woman, not to individual ownership. The request for research on land reform was noted, but the point was also made that the Department would have to consolidate what was available at present.

The Department had requested to be excused from the meeting, and this request was granted.

Ms Mpumlwana gain appreciated the opportunity to present the concept, although the CGE expected others to tease out what was actually possible. The CGE had gathered the information but it was for the state to implement. There were several contentious cases of inheritances and customary marriages, because when the man of the house passed away; the person taking over might have no understanding of the land, but inherited because he was a man. Currently the concept of “family” had changed; this might encompass a grandmother with children, orphaned children, single women or a widow. This campaign linked  in with the current idea of such a household. It was important to know who bears the burden, and it should be noted that woman were primarily the ones who took care of the family.

The issue of gender was interlinked with issues of race, class, ability and so forth in South Africa. Gender was not an isolated concept as it referred to issues of power in society and there was unequal power between men and women in this context.

In response to concerns of one hectare per women, she noted that the campaign was targeting just the poorest women. The aim was sustainability. She admitted that CGE did not have all the answers now, and so further discussion was needed. However, CGE worked toward transformation so that the ideals of the Constitution could become a reality. In initiating the concept, a concern over the relationship between women and land had been identified and the CGE was asking the DRDLR to look at the nuances. From a gender perspective, the CGE was doing something to redress the inequality.

The CGE appreciated Mr Walters' support. CGE would stick very closely to what the Constitution said about rights. The realities were that the role of the traditional authority was an area of sensitivity, and there needed to be a balanced approach to achieve redress.

Ms Mpumlwana provided examples of success stories with land ownership as a central point.

Mr S Matiase (EFF) apologised for having arrived late and having missed part of the meeting. The EFF welcomed the gender perspective of transformation, but would prefer to see land owned by the state, since the capitalist ideology led to fragmentation of land. He said that in the long run the EFF would like to see land being restored back to the state.

Mr Matiase asked if this campaign was representative of all women across racial groups and age. Young women remained marginalised and it was important that they were integrated.  The productive capacity of young women could be realised if three conditions were met: that women could benefit from land ownership for the sake of education; that land must be invested to develop the health and sanitary needs of woman; that land must be used to develop the economic space in terms of infrastructure such as roads. The CGE must consider this, or women would remain disempowered.

Mr Filtane said that some questions were answered by CGE in general, but no specific responses had been given. Getting these responses would determine whether the Committee was fully supportive of the campaign. The issue of the type of land ownership in question was unavoidable. He said the UDM would prefer mixed land ownership, as people should be given the freedom to choose.

Mr Walters said that there were various ownership models to consider but he said that there would not be redress if the individual did not own the property. He asked what the reason would be to replace one monopoly with another Why replace a monopoly with another monopoly? The massive expansion of private property was key so people were not dependent on the state. He said this was fundamental to women's empowerment which was seen through the success stories.

Mr Walters addressed Mr Nchabeleng and said that different perspectives were useful.

Mr Mnguni said Members had a collective task to enrich the process to mainstream gender on land ownership. He did add that more research must be done and more time allowed for quantitative findings to actualise. He said that this debate was not concerned with private property. The Bantustan system had left scars and that was where the most glaring pockets of poverty were found. The old system was the reason woman do not own land, and the youth were also marginalised.

Mr Filtane said that for the sake of a proper response to the Commission, the Committee should set aside time to debate the type of land ownership in question. After 20 years of democracy, those former Bantustan areas remain the poorest, with one party in control.

The Chairperson reminded Members that in this meeting they should refrain from party politics and focus  on the CGE presentation.

Mr Mnguni requested that he be allowed to finish his points and noted that the debate was public.

Mr Walters said that part of the problem was that Mr Mnguni was not debating around the CGE campaign and was misquoting and characterising people. Mr Walters said that this pattern was not helpful. If Mr Mnguni continued to use this opportunity to attack opposing parties, then other Committee Members would respond as they would do in a debate in the House.

The Chairperson again requested that the Committee Members should stay focused.

Mr Nchabeleng said that  ANC Members had not stated where the party stood on this.

Ms Mpumlwana said that male domination had manifested itself over the years in such a way that women had become marginalised and not equal. Where men were decision makers on the allocation of resources, the interests of the man would always trump the interests of the woman. Women were afraid to make themselves available and participate in structures. Patriarchy was sometimes supported by woman because they felt cowed by being dominated and did not want to raise their hand to participate. She said that Committee Members would know, like the CGE did, that in fact the majority of registered voters were women, which showed that they could participate although at the moment they were not reaping the benefits of doing so.

She said that the CGE was a very diverse Commission as it had young woman, mature woman, urban and rural men and women. With offices in all provinces, reliable information was received which reflected that pulse in society.

The Chairperson thanked CGE, noted that the Committee had expressed broad support for the campaign and would engage with the DRDLR on the matter. The CGE had a role to educate people as they would often choose financial compensation over land and they needed to understand the value of land. She suggested that it would be useful also to give this presentation should be given to the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture.

Outstanding Committee Minutes

The Chairperson tabled the minutes and asked if Members wished to make any corrections.

Mr Mnguni suggested organised labour be included as part of the list of stakeholders.

The Chairperson said that it was included, and would be rephrased for clarity. 

Mr Matiase said that while the Bill was being amended there needed to be something said against land division. It was proposed that this be reflected in the minutes.

Mr Walters asked what the issues on land for a moratorium were. The sentiment was respected that everyone’s constitutional rights become a reality.

Mr Mnguni said that when the Bill was presented, it would be seen that there was a clause that looked into housing, and the legislation dealt with the occurrence of evictions. This was viewed as a moratorium and it must be noted that this was a view of a moratorium. The minutes fairly reflect what happened and should be adopted as they were. Lastly, there would be public hearings where others can voice their opinion as this was not the final bill.

The Chairperson said that public hearings were a good idea as this was a briefing made to the committee.

The Chairperson said that Mr Mnguni proposed the adoption of the minutes. Mr Madella seconded this.

Mr Mnguni pointed out some grammatical errors which can easily be fixed.

Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR)
The Chairperson said that Committee Members had been asked to go through the draft Budgetary  Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) but none had submitted any comments, which she hoped meant that the draft was a correct reflection of the recommendations.

Mr Walters pointed out a number of oversights and grammatical errors in the draft.

The Chairperson requested that these comments be submitted to the committee.

Mr Walters said he would send his comments in point form.

He added that there was a need for an impact assessment , and agreement from all parties on what the Ingonyama Trust was doing and how it benefits the community.

Mr Matiase said that the Committee Secretariat had done commendable work in the compilation of the report. This Report, as well as the National Development Plan (NDP) were, however, outcomes of the free market foundation on which the EFF could not agree in principle; the EFF did not agree with anything based on the NDP. The DRDLR used the capitalistic logic of land ownership, and he submitted that the EFF felt that it was impossible to engage properly and sort out the real problems if there were to be a continuation of the current incoherence around policy implementation. All instruments would remain ineffective. The Department also outsourced core business such as land restitution. Shortfalls would continue, along with failure to realise true land restitution, in such cases. A proposal for quantification of where and how people were investing their financial grants was made. The EFF could not support this BRRR as it was based on the unattainable objectives of the National Development Plan.  

The Chairperson said that Mr Matiase had on the one hand commented on the BRRR but then said that the EFF could not support it.  The Committee received quarterly reports, and when the next one was received there should be more statistics available. Beneficiaries had the right to choose between land, financial compensation or developmental support when lodging claims for restitution. The Department must merely do whatever the beneficiary chose. If the beneficiary chose to have financial compensation then this was something that the Department would have to implement.

Mr Filtane said that for two years in a row the Department had reported under-expenditure and the budget for the coming year should not be more than the previous year unless there was proof that it could indeed be spent.

The Chairperson said that the recommendation was based on the figures presented for restitution.  There was a need for funding, as a lot of claims were at the research phase and there was a backlog which would need additional funding once claims were finalised.

Mr Mnguni said that he was proud of his contributions to the Committee as it represented the people. Cutting the budget would have negative effects on the rural people. Policy issues should be debated in the next phase.

Mr Madella felt that the Committee could not agree to cut the budget.

Members adopted the Report, with the objections of the EFF noted.

The meeting was adjourned.

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