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The aim of this report is to summarise the main events at the meeting and identify the key role players. This report is not a verbatim transcript of proceedings.
land and agriculture portfolio committee
19 March 2002
DEPARTMENT BUDGET: BRIEFING
Acting Chairperson: Mr M. Maphalala
Documents handed out:
(Copies of the documents which are currently available in electronic format can be found on our website)
The Committee was concerned on how the land reform programme was carried out by the Department and how could the programme of land reform be linked with President Mbeki's Strategic Plan for Agriculture. The Committee requested a breakdown of expenditure and the problems that were experienced by the Department in implementing its programmes. Dr P. Mayende, Director-General in the Department of Land Affairs, said most of the problems were interdepartmental. He told the Committee that they were to meet all Provincial MECs to look at how to deal with some of those problems.
Mr R. Schoeman (ANC) asked whether the budget for land reform came from state revenue or from donor funding.
An official from the Department said some of the funds have rolled over from the previous budget to the current financial year, the donor funding that they had was from the Belgian government and it amounted to R10 million, the other money came from the government. Dr Mayende added that this year they would spend R1billion, which would amount to 99,1 % of their budget.
Mr S. Farrow (DP) asked what happened to the resolutions of the land summit, were they not incorporated in the budget.
Dr Mayende replied that they were trying to take some of the resolutions from the summit. He added that there were a number of inputs from the summit that were costed in the budget.
Mr Farrow further wanted to know how was the President's Strategic Plan for Agriculture linked to the programme of land reform.
Dr Mayende said their programme was not linked to the Presidential Strategic Plan on Agriculture; they have not looked at whether these programmes could be linked to one another. However, he said all was not lost because land redistribution could be needed in the Strategic Plan for Agriculture.
Ms B. Ntuli asked what would happen on the strategy for acquisition, what were the problems in terms of the willing buyer -willing seller strategy.
Dr Mayende said the issue of willing-buyer; willing seller was really a serious problem. However, he told the Committee that land transfers should be done through consensus to avoid what happened in Zimbabwe. The major problem was that landowners were dragging the process by making the prices of land very high. The government had to reduce the time for negotiations and not to allow landowners to drag the process behind. He added that they would meet with the Provincial MECs where they would discuss how to deal with the entire issue of land reform.
Ms Ntuli further asked what problems were there concerning the land that should be disposed by the Provincial governments.
Dr Mayende told the Committee that there were a lot of problems concerning delivery in the provinces; he said the provinces were not delivering as expected by the National Department that was one of the issues that were to be discussed in the meeting with the MECs.
Ms Kasienyane said she was not satisfied with the usage of the term rollover of funds, she suggested that the term rollover should be replaced by committed funds.
Dr Mayende said there was also rollover of committed funds; this meant that those funds were allocated in a previous budget, so he did not see any problem with the usage of both terms.
Ms Kasienyane asked why the number of female employees from the department was decreasing, what was really the cause of that.
Dr Mayende replied that most of the female employees got senior posts in other government departments as a result their vacant posts were filled by male candidates who applied for those posts.
Mr Maphalala asked a similar question, but this time on the number of disabled people employed in the Department, which was also decreasing.
Dr Mayende said the same happened to disabled people, they left for senior posts and other disabled people never applied for the vacancies.
Mr G Mclntosh (DP) wanted to know whether the Department was doing costing for land reform programmes. He made an example of the new housing grant of R25 000, whether would it affect the budget of the Department.
Mr Moroka from the Department said there was a costing for each programme of the Department, as for the R25 000 housing grant, he said they have not made any adjustments with the Department of Housing in that regard.
Mr Mclntosh asked whether were there any evaluation of the programmes of the Department.
Dr Mayende said there was monitoring and evaluation of programmes in the Department. He said there were some problems but these problems were interdepartmental. He said they were in the process of forming an inter-departmental committee to deal with those problems.
Mr Farrow said the Land Summit resolutions should be reflected in the budget.
On the land summit resolutions Dr Mayende said they would meet with all the stakeholders who attended the conference to get feedback.
Mr Maphalala wanted to know the breakdown of the funds in terms of what is happening in the provinces so as to be able to inform their constituencies of what was taking place on the ground.
Mr Moroka said the breakdown of funds was available in each province and this could be made available to the Committee.
Mr L. Modisenyane asked what happened to the farm workers when the farmers have left the farm.
An official from the Department said some of the new farm owners were evicting farm workers and the Department would take serious action against such evictions.
Mr B. Radebe (ANC) wanted to know whether the computer system has been upgraded to illustrate the number of foreigners who have bought land in this country.
Dr Mayende agreed that the issue of land owned by foreigners was a serious problem. Mayende was quick to point out that the issue was so sensitive that if it is not treated carefully, it could also affect the markets, so they had to treat it cautiously. He said they were preparing a government memorandum to highlight the issue because it had to be dealt with in a more professional manner.
The meeting was adjourned.
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