DALRRD & CRLR 2023/24 Annual Performance Plans; with Ministry

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

18 April 2023
Chairperson: Mr ZM Mandela (ANC); Ms T Modise (ANC, North West)
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Meeting Summary


Agriculture, Land Reform & Rural Development  

Commission on Restitution of Land Rights (CRLR)

In a joint virtual meeting, the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and the Select Committee on Land Reform, Environment and Mineral Resources and Energy received a briefing from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development on its 2023/2024 annual performance plans. The presentation provided details of its quarterly targets for each programme, as well as the provincial breakdown of them.

The Committee raised concerns about the slow process of transferring land to beneficiaries. The Department was asked about the provision of quarantine stations to deal with animal diseases. The issue of insufficient agricultural extension officers was also brought forward. The Committee expressed some disappointment that the performance plans did not reflect issues to do farm dwellers and labour tenants.

The Commission on Restitution of Land Restitution Rights also presented its 2023/2024 annual performance plans. It provided details of land claims being settled and finalised, and the provincial breakdown. The Commission presented its medium term expenditure framework.

Committee Members raised concerns about the slow progress in providing autonomy for the Commission and about it not having a full staff complement.

Meeting report

Opening remarks by Chairperson Mandela

Chairperson Mandela explained that this was a joint meeting because the Minister had been booked by both the Portfolio Committee and Select Committee on Land Reform, Environment and Mineral Resources and Energy on the same day and time. It was then decided to have a joint meeting to have a discussion around the Department’s annual performance plan. The Select Committee would be present only until the end of the first session.

Opening remarks by the Minister

Ms Thoko Didiza, Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, said the Department's annual performance plan (APP) and its supporting entities would be presented to both Committees. The vision and strategic objectives remained to attain equitable access to land, integrated rural development, sustainable agriculture and food security for all. The national and provincial departments shared responsibility. In the past year, the Department had developed a broad partnership with the agricultural industry, agricultural businesses, farmers, labour and communities, enabling it to focus on how to grow the sector and make it sustainable and productive. Both human and financial resources would be employed to attain the overall vision.

The Minister referred to current challenges affecting the industry. These were related to energy security; stringent market access requirements for exports to the European Union; rising production costs; biosecurity challenges; climate change; and inadequate rural infrastructure to support economic growth. The cost of living posed a threat to the food security and nutrition of citizens. In addressing the food security challenges, the income of farms should not be weakened because that would negatively affect producers.

The APP aimed to address food security and position farmers to contribute to the economy. The range of support to farmers varied according to the scale of operations and products. The production inputs remained important, particularly for smallholder and subsistence farmers, and were delivered through programmes such as Ilima/Letsema and the Presidential Employment Stimulus Initiative. Mechanisation support for farmers was done through food production support units, where they were functional, and through provincial departments. However, this was not enough. Young farmers in her constituency had told her that they appreciated the mechanisation efforts, but the massiveness of the area and limited traction power impacted production capacity. Training support was another important area. It was also provided to commercial farmers to ensure that they were able to trade their goods.

The Department continued to engage entities such as Transnet to unblock the port infrastructure.

Research and development was a key area in supporting the agricultural sector so that it could compete internationally. It would become more important due to climate change. It was also important in dealing with plant pests and animal diseases. The Department would use a Geographical Information System (GIS) for spatial planning and informing communities about the best areas for planting.

The Department continuously analysed the market environment to ensure access to products. Agricultural financing and business development support continued to be key areas of support for farmers.

The revitalisation of rural areas continued to be important to ensure unutilised land was brought into production and the Department would work with the provinces, traditional leaders and other community organisations. This was a key process in the agriculture and agro-processing master plan for improving rural infrastructure such as roads and irrigation. There was a need for the rehabilitation of older schemes to support the farmers effectively. Storage facilities were an issue, especially in rural areas.

Biosecurity was one of the areas that the Department had to address. A report by a task team indicated a need for coordination between national, provincial and local authorities. The availability and sustainability of vaccines have become an area of importance. In the past year, Members of Parliament have really raised this issue. The surveillance and improvement of rural animal facilities was an important area of focus for the Department.

Land tenure reform, restitution and land redistribution were important. The Department would work with other departments on the release of state land. Plans by the Department to acquire land in the open market and through land donations would be submitted to the Committees.

Chairperson Mandela asked whether the Members of the Select Committee were present. The meeting was then adjourned until 10h00 when it was found that the Select Committee had been informed that the joining virtual meeting would start at that hour. Chairperson Mandela said he did not want them to be excluded from the presentation of the Department's APP. 

Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development  (DALRRD) Annual Performance Plan 2023/24

Mr Ramasodi Mooketsa, Director-General, DALRRD, took the Committee through its presentation. He outlined the Department’s contribution to government priorities, its strategic focus, the strategic outcomes, and the key issues highlighted during the President’s State of the Nation Address.

(See slides 1-11 of the presentation for further details.)

Programme one: Administration

The Committee heard that the target was to receive an unqualified audit opinion on the 2022/2023 annual financial statements. The Department wanted to pay 100 percent of valid invoices within 30 days of receiving them. 

Programme two: Agricultural production, biosecurity and natural resources management

The Department planned to submit the Hemp Seed Certification Scheme to the Minister for approval. Three provinces - Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng - would have delineated protected agricultural areas. Three plant pest risk surveillances would be conducted. These included the exotic fruit fly, citrus greening disease and the banana bunchy top virus. Three animal disease risk surveillances will be conducted. These were for contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, peste des petits ruminants and foot and mouth disease. 

Programme three: Food security, land reform and restitution

The aim was to train 715 executive members of Communal Property Associations (CPAs) and to enrol 800 students at agricultural training institutes. Sixty-six farmers would be supported In terms of the Land Development Support Programme. The Department planned to allocate 42 456 hectares, settle 349 land claims and finalise 406 land claims.

Programme four: Rural development

The National Rural Youth Services Corps programme would train 4 500 young people, link 485 young people to job opportunities and support 309 young people with business development. Eighty-three infrastructure projects would be completed.

Programme five: Economic development, trade and marketing

The Department would train 108 agricultural cooperatives through the Farm Together Agricultural Cooperative Training Programme. It would assess all of the AgriBEE fund applications. Forty-one Farmer Production Support Units (FPSUs) would be supported. The Department would support 87 agricultural enterprises and 18 non-agricultural enterprises.   Micro-Agricultural Financial Institutions of South Africa (MAFISA) loans would be processed for 35 smallholder producers. A further 300 smallholder farmers would be capacitated for agricultural marketing. The Department would implement six trade agreements, negotiate five trade agreements, implement six multilateral commitments and provide a status report on bilateral engagements in Africa.

Programme six: Land Administration

As far as deeds were concerned, 95 percent would be made available within seven days from lodgement and 95 percent of registered deeds would be delivered within ten days from registration date. The Department would develop an implementation and monitoring report on the National Spatial Development Framework and the National Spatial Action Areas. Professional and technical support would be provided to eight organs of state to implement the Spatial Data Infrastructure Act of 2003. The cadastral documents would be processed within 16 working days. It would take an average of ten working days to add new cadastral documents to the cadastral spatial information dataset.

(See presentation for further details.)

Ms Rendani Sadiki, Chief Financial Officer, DALRRD, took the Committee through the Department’s 2023 expenditure estimates. The presentation consisted of detailed tables and graphs.

(Please see presentation for further details)

Commission on Restitution of Land Rights (CRLR) Annual Performance Plan 2023/24

Ms Nomfundo Ntloko, Chief Land Claims Commissioner, CRLR, took the Committee through their presentation. The briefing covered the strategic plan, annual performance plan, operational plan, performance agreements and work plans.

She told Members that the CRLR was in the process of moving to autonomy, as directed by the Auditor-General and recommended by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in the restitution evaluation conducted in 2014. The strategic goals and objectives of the CRLR echoed the goals and objectives of the Department. The CRLR has so far settled 82 761 claims. A total of 3.8 million hectares had been awarded at a cost of R25 billion. An amount of R21 billion was paid in financial compensation. So far, 452 829 households have benefited, of which 174 302 were headed by women and 1 240 were headed by persons with a disability. 

The CRLR would be recommending 349 land claims for settlement and hoped to settle all of them. It wanted to finalise 406 land claims. The target for settlement of land claims would cover all provinces. The settlement of land claims in KwaZulu-Natal Was the highest at 90 claims and the lowest was in the North West Province with two claims. The target for finalised claims was the highest in KwaZulu-Natal at 90 claims and the lowest was in the Northern Cape at five claims. The presentation provided a detailed table on the budget allocation for each item and sub-programme.

(Slides 13-14 for further details)

The Committee was told that the CRLR consisted of the Chief Land Claims Commissioner, a Deputy Land Claims Commissioner and a Regional Land Claims Commissioner who were all based at the national office. The commissioners were assisted by staff employed under the Public Service Act and seconded by the DALRRD to the CRLR. There were 15 provincial offices located in the nine provinces. The provincial offices were led by chief directors who reported directly to the Chief Land Claims Commissioner. The post of Deputy Land Claims Commissioner was in the process of being filled. There were 14 staff members with disabilities, which constituted 2.1 percent of the total. There were 383 female staff members, comprising 56 percent of the staff.

(See presentation for further details)


Mr N Masipa (DA) said the Department had made it clear that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was causing challenges within South Africa. That had been noted in the external environment analysis in the presentation by the Department. He thanked the Department for acknowledging this. 

He referred to the Agricultural Debt Management Act 2001. It provided for establishing an agricultural debt account as a mechanism to manage agricultural debt repayment, administer monies in the account, provide for auditing and reporting on the account, and various matters relating to debt agreements. He would appreciate it if the Department could provide the Committee with information on these and other matters in the APPs. A problem with this Act was that it referred to the Coloured Farmers Assistance Act of 1973. When this Act was amended, it still referred to coloured farmers. The Department should look at the legislation to see whether it is relevant or not.

The Agricultural Laws Extension Act 87 of 1996, referred to the Minister as being the Minister of Agriculture and referred to affected areas as national territories of the former Transkei, Gazankulu, Lebowa and so forth. The Committee needed to receive guidelines from the Department about what it was doing. In every meeting on the APPs, the Committee heard the same messages again and again. Issues that the Committee had raised had not been addressed.

The Animal Diseases Act 35 of 1984 stated that a Minister could establish a quarantine station to isolate animals. This was needed to manage biosecurity. The Committee had not received any information on biosecurity and the quarantine stations. In a number of cases in the private sector, animals were transferred from foot and mouth (FMD) zones to non-FMD zones with no staff from the Department on the ground to police this. He requested that the Department brief the Committee on issues of quarantine and disease control. There were penalties for violating disease controls but these were capped at a fine of R85 000 and two to five years’ imprisonment.

The country had been facing production problems at Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP) for ten years. Was it not time that the private sector be allowed to procure some of the services in order to provide vaccines? Section 4 of the Onderstepoort Biological Products Incorporation Act 19 of 1999 talked about share capital. The Minister could authorise share capital if she wanted to. Did the Department really want to wait until it was taken to court to address the animal disease problems that the country was experiencing? In KwaZulu-Natal, 300 horses died in KwaZulu-Natal.

Ms W Ngwenya (ANC, Gauteng) said that land reform was central to meeting the goals of the Freedom Charter. How many women and youth would benefit from land redistribution and reform? Was the Department on track to meet the objectives of the National Development Plan and the sustainable development goals? Plans to achieve these goals should be shared with the Committee. About 34 percent of the population of South Africa resided in rural areas. What plans were in place to support people in those areas?

Mr N Nhanha (DA, Eastern Cape) said that back in the day, there were very useful resources such as extension officers in the homelands. One did not see them today, especially in rural areas like those in the Eastern Cape. The few extension officers there spent 95 percent of their time in the office. There were no longer boots on the ground. How was the performance of every extension officer being measured?

The Commissioner had mentioned that the CRLR had less than under 50 percent of what its staff capacity was supposed to be. He shivered when he heard this. The Commissioner was heading a crucial state entity that could plunge the country into a crisis if not handled effectively. How did the CRLR plan to achieve its objectives? What plans were in place to ensure the CRLR had full staff capacity? It was inexcusable to operate with less than 50 percent of staff capacity.

Ms L Bebee (ANC, KZN) applauded the Department for its service delivery. She said the Department was aligned with government's priorities. The medium term strategic framework was about building a capable, ethical and developmental state. How did the Department plan to achieve this priority concerning programme one? In past years, the Department had reported grappling with challenges of community property institutions (CPAs). Had the Department audited the CPAs? How many had been established nationally and in KZN? How would the Department support the CPAs during the current financial year to comply with the Act and strengthen the oversight?

Ms T Mbabama (DA) said that this was the final year of the 2019-2024 plan and she was worried that outstanding legislation might not be finalised before the end of the financial year. Examples were the Rural Development Framework Policy, the Communal Land Tenure Policy and the Land Redistribution Policy. She asked the Department to inform the Committee of the status of all the legislation and policies that were outstanding. Programme three, concerning food security, had received the second largest budget allocation of R2 billion, yet there were no clear and specific targets. She asked the Department to explain how it defined and measured food security.

The target for CPAs had changed from training all the members to training only the executives. She was not sure about the length of term for the executives. Was this even legislated? It did not make sense to train the executives only. It was an easier target. How many CPAs are there currently? There should be a register of members of the CPAs.

Mention had been made of training on legislation. Yet, the challenges of the CPAs went beyond compliance with legislation. For example, in the 2021-2022 report on CPAs, the following challenges were identified: a lack of coherence in reporting did not ensure proper establishment, effective functioning and sound conflict management; there was insecure tenure for women, youth and people with disabilities; there were criminal activities and corruption. Training on governance would not address the challenges at all. It was actually a shift from compliance to something much easier. Why had the Department decided to change that? She was worried that the APPs did not talk about these challenges.

She understood the challenges of the CRLR but was worried about why it could not become an autonomous organisation. What was the stumbling block? Everyone was talking about autonomy but it did not happen. Why were there no targets in the APPs for autonomy? She was concerned about plans that spanned ten years or more. There had been queries from people in the Eastern Cape about these long plans. Did the APPs look at the long outstanding ones and then find a way to target those first?

Mr Z Mkiva (ANC, Eastern Cape) acknowledged the good work the Department had done under the guidance of Minister Didiza and the deputy ministers. He needed an understanding of the percentage of the land restored to the African majority. He asked for the statistics because the matter remained unresolved. At a summit led by the former |Deputy President about two years ago, there was a resounding resolution that communal land should be transferred to traditional authorities so that it could be easier to administer. The Department might also be able to capacitate the traditional authorities with the required resources and tools of trade to do that work effectively. To what extent had that programme been processed? When could the Committee expect the completion of this transfer? It was a transaction that did not involve any exchange of money; it just had to be taken to the necessary authorities.

There was a lot of livestock in rural areas, especially those under traditional authorities. Every weekend, hundreds and even thousands of sheep were being slaughtered. Many animals hides and skins were going to waste because there was no instrument to help people to process them. He suggested that the Department consider identifying a relevant location in a rural province like the Eastern Cape where taxidermy could take place. It could be seen as a processing plant. If there was a surplus, it could be exported. A project of this nature could go a long way in providing jobs.

Mr M Montwedi (EFF) asked how governance training would improve the running of the CPAs. He asked when the CRLR intended to start with the new claims. He was aware that all the claims from before 2014 had been finalised in the Free State. How had the Department reduced its curriculum to accommodate small-scale farmers who wanted to study part-time at its various colleges? Some of the colleges did not offer part-time courses.

 He asked how the Department and the CRLR dealt with consequence management. He particularly referred to a situation where CPA members had squandered money allocated to beneficiaries. There have been many forensic investigations. How would it be ensured that money that was supposed to go to beneficiaries actually went to them?

Previously, there had been a programme for recapitalisation and land development support. However, there has been a serious decline in the number of farmers being supported. This referred to the 2021-2022 financial year when the Department gave farms to beneficiaries but did not provide support to them. What was the cause of this decline? How had this impacted the productivity of those farms? Some farms remained unproductive because the land development support was not there.

Labour tenants were not included in the APPs. In the previous year, the Department committed that it was going to appoint 10 000 workers. However, in the 2023-2024 financial year, there seemed to be a decline of 37.1 percent. What informed this huge decline? Did the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) programme actually take a chunk of the budget that should have been allocated to this service? A number of agricultural graduates remained unemployed because they had not benefited from the extension service programme. In the 2023/2024 financial year, there was an increase of 3 081 participants in the NARYSEC programme compared to 699 participants in the 2022/23 financial year. Why was there such a huge increase?

Ms C Visser (DA, North West) said she was concerned about deteriorating water quality, affecting food security. Toxic waters due to raw meat being dumped in them made it difficult for irrigation farmers and stock farmers to export products. What plans did the Department have to interact with the relevant departments to address the destruction of South Africa’s water?

Mr N Capa (ANC) asked about plans to provide mechanisation support to people in rural areas, 

Mr Masipa said a position paper on land administration and communal tenure had been passed on to the Cabinet. He asked for more details on this. He asked for clarity on the issue of blended financing. Where was the Department now with the Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plan ( AAMP)? What budget had been allocated for this? He said R500 million had been set aside for an energy task team. What specific programmes would the Department run? Was there a process to monitor spending?

The Department had spoken about the ministerial task team report on biosecurity, vaccine availability, and a 12 percent loss of exports due to animal diseases. He requested that the report be shared with the Committee. In terms of the number of subsistence producers supported with integrated bioenergy (biogas) technology, 13 areas were identified. Where and how did the identification take place?

Ms Mbabama asked whether the energy task team had started with its work. Referring to the Presidential Employment Stimulus initiative, she said that oversight conducted in Mpumalanga showed that what was happening on the ground was not reflected in the presentation to the Committee. There was some kind of disconnect. What lessons have been learned so far with the rollout of this initiative?

Regarding hemp seed certification, she asked whether this was done by South Africa or a global body. In the cannabis master plan, what was the significance of the tetrahydrocannabinol level? The Department said that it was waiting on the Department of Health. Did it regulate the plants to be grown? In the AAMP, the Farmer Production Support Units (FPSUs) were not mentioned as one of the critical initiatives to drive agricultural reform in communal land. What was the reason for the target of supporting 41 FPSUs? Was the Department only choosing the ones that it wanted to support?

She asked why labour tenants were not catered for in the APPs. Why was the extension service support budget down by 31 percent? These services were needed. In programme four, why were so many young people being trained under the NARYSEC programme when most would not be supported? There should rather be a focus on a few, knowing these people would be going straight into jobs.

Chairperson Modise said it had been mentioned that some students from the NARYSEC programme were absorbed by the Department and some by businesses. How many students per province were absorbed? Some students from NARYSEC were just roaming the streets. She commended the Department for increasing the number of students in the NARYSEC programme in the current year. This compensated for the previous year when it enrolled fewer students. It had nothing to do with the 2024 elections. The NARYSEC programme was important.

She said some land claims in the North West province had been there for a long time. One thing the CRLR did wrong was to give land to people and then give that same land to other people. She asked how long it would take to transfer communal land to the traditional authorities. The fight between the CPAs and traditional authorities should come to an end. There were problems in Limpopo, Northern Cape and the North West. Some people had been waiting for over ten years for their land. These matters had to be resolved. Compared to the previous years, the Minister had done an excellent job, except on the issues raised here.

Chairperson Mandela said he acknowledged the impact Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had on the agricultural sector. The war moguls were portraying not only Russia as a global threat but China as well. He asked what the Department was doing to secure alternative supplies of fertiliser from BRICS countries.

He said that before the end of the 2024 term, time should be set aside to assess the impact of the programme interventions over the past four years. In some areas, certain targets had been omitted or changed. He made an example of the labour tenants at the Land Claims Court. In the medium term expenditure framework, R767 million was allocated to acquire 17 965 hectares for farm dwellers and labour tenants. The presentation did not show any plans or targets for settlement of labour tenants’ applications.

It was said in 2020 that the Communal Land Tenure Bill would be prioritised. To date, the Bill has not been tabled before the Committee. What were the reasons? Programme 5 mentioned a target of assessing 100 percent of  AgriBEE fund applications. What was the Department assessing and what did it mean for the rollout of the fund? There were high numbers of disadvantaged farmers that required these funds. On average, how many AgriBEE fund applications were received and approved annually?

The Department planned to support the functionality of 41 FPSUs during the current year, yet in the previous year, of 35 FPSUs, it only managed to help four to function fully. How had the challenges of the previous years been addressed to justify the increased target? What did the Department mean by the FPSUs being fully functional? He said that the Committee did not see a fully functional FPSU in the most recent oversight visit to Mpumalanga. In the Mvezo district in Transkei, there was an agripark that was rotting day by day. Programme five also talked about training cooperatives in light of the failure to get FPSUs fully functional. He asked how beneficial the training was because the cooperatives had no access to comprehensive support and the market.

Both Director-General Mooketsa and Minister Didiza highlighted the importance of research and the central role of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC). However, the budget allocation for the ARC remained stagnant, if not decreasing. Had there been a discussion with the National Treasury on prioritising funding for agricultural research and innovation? He asked this in light of an oversight visit to the FMD red zone and the importing of vaccines from Botswana.


Mr Dipepeneneng Serage, DDG: Agricultural Production, Biosecurity and Disaster Management, DALRRD, said that currently, there were animal quarantine stations at ports of entry to the country. The animals were required by law to be quarantined so that the Department could observe them for possible diseases. One was near OR Tambo International Airport and another in Milnerton in Cape Town. Quarantine services were in the domain of local government. It was true that the state had to provide disease control. There should be quarantined farms that could house livestock in the event of an outbreak. He accepted this as a suggestion from Mr Masipa. The Department realised that it needed facilities like this during the FMD outbreak, but there was not an official facility at the moment. There were some state farms which the Department could use to prevent movement of livestock.

The Department intended to review and strengthen the Animal Diseases Act of 1984. The current penalties encourage farmers to follow the biosecurity laws. There had to be harsher ones. 

The Onderstepoort Biological Products Act of 1965 was administered by the Department of Health and Act 36 of 1947 was administered by the DALRRD. The private sector could, under these Acts, apply to register for the manufacturing of vaccines.

Water administration was a concurrent function but the Department of Water and Sanitation was the main custodian. It had a working relationship with the DALRRD. He agreed that there had to be a specific project to address the effect of poor water quality on livestock and irrigation farmers.

Concerning the outbreak of FMD, services were provided to the provincial departments to contain it in Limpopo and North West. The operation had carried on to the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal but it was not done yet. The Department was able to contain the FMD with remarkable speed. It was a work in progress and had yet to be rolled out to other provinces.

The issue of fertiliser imports was tricky. The job of the Department was to register applications for imports. It had to intervene twice during the previous farming cycle when there were blockages at the port of KwaZulu-Natal. The Department reached out to Transnet and was able to ensure that fertilisers were prioritised over the other imports. 

A DALRRD official said the Department of Public Service and Administration evaluated the performance of extension services. Work was being done on funding to employ more extension officers than the current 2 000. Regarding the recapitalisation programme in the 2021/22 financial year, the Department focused on the more viable farms. The Beneficiary Selection and Land Allocation Policy helped the Department to prioritise those farmers with financial capacity. This would allow them to continue without needing mass government support.

The Department was working with the provinces to streamline their mechanisation plans. Blended financing was still going forward. The Minister would make an announcement soon to the private sector. The colleges were offering part-time training to farmers.

Mr Terries Ndove, DDG: Land Redistribution and Tenure Reform, said that the Beneficiary Selection and Land Allocation Policy was developed and approved by Cabinet in 2020. It prioritised women, youth, people with disabilities, military veterans and people in the communal areas. It stipulated that 50 percent of land allocations should go to women and 40 percent to youth. The policy did not apply to tenure because tenure was linked to historical issues and depended on how tenants were affected. T

The number of CPAs kept changing because most were registered if and when redistribution, restitution and tenure claims were received. There were currently approximately 1 700 CPAs. Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal had almost half of them. The Communal Property Associations Act 28 of 1996, stipulated what the Department could do around CPAs. This included registration, which was a long process of developing a constitution and all related matters. The Department had to monitor the CPAs’ activities, which must be in line with the Act and their own constitutions. It had to ensure that there were annual general meetings and regular elections. This was a difficult area and the Department spent a lot of time on it. There had to be mediation services to resolve disputes among the members. It was common for a group to conflict with the executive about resources, finances, land and other assets. If the mediation failed, the Director-General, after consultation with the members, could place the CPA under judicial administration. The administrator would take over and try to rebuild the CPA and ensure the election of a new executive. 

Concerning the Communal Land Tenure Bill, a process was begun about three years ago for South Africa to learn from other countries about their administration of communal land. The process was caught up in the COVID-19 pandemic. A position paper was developed and approved by Parliament. The position paper gave rise to a consultation process with various stakeholders, including traditional leaders, communal traditional communities and other interested parties. The process took some time but it was concluded. This led to a summit in May 2022. The outcomes of the summit were processed through the Inter-ministerial Committee by the former Deputy President. Very soon, the Committee would be informed formally of where the process was.

As far as the CPAs were concerned, there could indeed be training for everyone. The executive, on average, had between 10 and 20 members depending on its constitution. The core of the problem was that members of the executive lost contact with all the members and disputes arose. Executive members’ terms were three to five years. The focus on training executives did not mean there was no other support for other members. It was true that compliance with the Act was not everything. Other challenges included conflict, security of tenure and fraud and corruption.

He was unsure whether the current Act was sufficient to manage all of the affairs of the CPAs or whether the model itself had to be looked at. The Department had to conduct an audit to get information on the real issues that affected every CPA. In parallel to that, the Minister and Deputy Minister had engagements with CPAs. The study had only just been completed. The intention in drafting the Act had always been to review it when necessary.

Not everything had been indicated in the APP. A lot was being done outside of the APP, such as work on labour tenants. Land was allocated for redistribution and tenure purposes. From 1994 to date, 5.2 million hectares had been allocated for land redistribution and tenure.

He requested more information on the issue of land being given to more than one person.

There were pockets of dispute between the CPAs and traditional leaders throughout the country. Some people received land through restitution and traditional leaders were excluded. This was how conflict occurred. Sometimes people claimed land but wanted to work closely with traditional leaders. 

The Department was working very closely with the Special Master on Land Tenants to ensure that his work was supported with both human and financial resources. It was not an easy matter. In some cases, the landowners disputed the claims and then the matters were referred to court. There were many referrals to the courts. State attorneys became overwhelmed, slowing down the process of settling the land claims. The Special Master had developed other mechanisms to ensure that land claims were dealt with urgently and to increase the success rate in court.

Closing remarks by the Deputy Minister 

Mr Mcebesi Skwatsha, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, said the Department along with the CRLR, would respond to the other questions in writing as requested. The meeting was beneficial in sharpening the tools of the Department. He said that the officials had responded well to the issue of the communal land tenure process raised by the Committee. The summit the previous year had laid bare the emotiveness of the issue of land. The Department had looked at the outcomes of the summit. The regret was the fact that this Committee was absent. He said the Committee should be briefed on that particular process. The Department had gone through the consultation process and the report was waiting to go to Cabinet.

The issue of land remained a problem. A mere pen stroke by the Minister would not resolve all of these problems. There were tensions in the CPAs and traditional councils. The issue was about thoroughly ironing out who the rightful owners were. This matter had to be dealt with speedily but must also bring a lasting solution to centuries-old problems. 

The meeting was adjourned.


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