Department Progress Report

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Meeting report

 

AGRICULTURE AND LAND AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
13 October 2004
DEPARTMENT PROGRESS REPORT

Chairperson:
Mr N Masithela (ANC)

Documents handed out

Department PowerPoint presentation
Department Annual Report, 1 April 2003 - 31 March 2004
Department Medium Term Strategic and Operational Plan: 2003 - 2007

SUMMARY
The Director-General of Land Affairs presented the Department progress report on their vision, strategic objectives and performance highlights for the 2003/4 financial year.

Committee concerns

MINUTES

Mr G Mayende, Director-General, presented the Department progress report on their vision, strategic objectives and performance highlights for the 2003/4 financial year. He mentioned that most of the resolved claims were rural claims. He expressed concern at the high percentage of vacant land and tenure reform problems.

Mr Mayende also said the greatest challenge faced by the Department was the lack of adequate resources. The national budget allocated 0.2% for land reform, which was a decline from 0.8% allocated in 1994.

Discussion

Mr S Holomisa (ANC) stated that the Department had indicated that a lack of resources was their greatest constraint. He asked how the Department planned to meet the 2005 deadline for finalising the land restitution process despite this challenge. He questioned if any formal notice had come to the Department that challenged the validity of the Communal Land Rights Act 11 of 2004.

The Chairperson asked when the Communal Land Right Act would be implemented.

Mr Mayende stated that the Department could meet the deadline even though there were capacity constraints. Ms S Goane, Department Chief Financial Officer, stated they had a strategy on how to meet the deadline. The Department planned to target the easy claims first before proceeding to the complex claims. The Commission had committed itself to meeting the deadline.

Ms V Nxesane, the Department Chief Director, indicated that no formal queries had been forwarded to the Department on the validity of the Communal Land Rights Act. The Director-General then stated that the implementation of the Act would largely depend on the approval of the next financial year's budget. The National Treasury had indicated that there was a budget of R12 million for the first year of the Medium-term Expenditure Framework, versus the R96 million requested by the Department.

A Member asked for the reason why the 192 hectares of land had been leased and not sold. He asked if there were farms that still had caretakers paying rent.

Ms Nxesane responded that a transformation process was taking place and that the land could not be sold because the previously disadvantaged people had to be given an opportunity to use it. The land was jointly owned by the Department and Public Works. Therefore the Department could not decide on its own to sell the land. There were farms that still had caretakers paying rent.

Dr E Schoeman (ANC) asked if communal land was included in the 30% of land reform projects to be owned by women. Ms Nxesane clarified that no communal land was included in the percentage. The project was mainly aimed at land previously owned by white citizens.

Mr T Ramphele (ANC) questioned the synthesis of the Annual Report with the Departmental strategic plan. There was no conclusive response to this question, and the Chairperson recommended that the Annual Report be in line with the Strategic Plan.

The meeting was adjourned.



 

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