Committee report on pace of Land Reform hearings: adoption

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Meeting report

AGRICULTURE AND LAND PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
17 November 2004
COMMITTEE REPORT ON PACE OF LAND REFORM HEARINGS: ADOPTION



Chairperson: Mr H Masitela (ANC)

Documents handed out:
 

Committee report on hearings on pace of land reform

SUMMARY
The Committee discussed the recommendations in the report on the pace of land reform hearings. There were minor technical changes to grammar and wording. Most discussion centred around DA concerns about the inclusion of race and gender in monitoring deeds registration. The Committee agreed that the state should "significantly" increase the budget for the land reform process. The report was adopted.

MINUTES
As Members had read through the report beforehand, they did not go through all 34 pages of the report on the hearings, but only discussed the last three pages on the hearing recommendations, the Committee comments and their recommendations. They agreed on a number of minor technical amendments to these sections.

Mr A Nel (DA) particularly raised concern around the hearing recommendation that "there was a need to review and assess the current market-based approach to land reform." He said there were also submissions from organisations who had supported the current market-based approach.

Mr B Radebe suggested wording that would reflect that the majority of the submissions had favoured the review of the market-based approach. Mr Ngema concurred. A discussion ensued around the issue until there was consensus that the Committee settle for the original wording of the hearing recommendation.

Mr Nel objected to the hearing recommendation that "there should be commitment by the state to provide adequate budgets and other resources for a large scale redistribution"; as he thought state resources were inadequate able to cover this. The Committee decided to stick to the original wording.

Under the section on 'Comments by the Committee', Mr Nel suggested "lack of adequate funding" be inserted before the "lack of administrative resources" (altered from "administrative capacity") as reasons why the land reform programme had been a more protracted process than originally envisaged. The Committee agreed on this after some discussion.

Under 'Committee recommendations', there were minor technical changes. The Committee agreed that the state should "significantly" increase the budget for the land reform process.

There was much debate on the suggestion that the Committee add gender along with race, as details mentioned in the registration of land reform and transfers, so that land reform progress could be adequately monitored.

Mr Nel (DA) was particularly strongly opposed to the registration of Deeds in terms of race for monitoring purposes. He felt that registration by race could be used for other reasons in future, rather than their intended purpose. ANC, ACDP and IFP Members felt strongly that race registration was the only way to monitor progress. Ultimately the Committee decided to use the original recommendation.

The report was adopted.

The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix: Extract from Committee Report

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE COMMITTEE:

1.Government should attend to the administrative capacity of the Department of Land Affairs and the Commission on Restitution;


2.All role-players from the public and private sector should get involved in the land reform process in the country;


3.There was an urgent need to secure the rights of farm dwellers with legislation and proactive programmes;


4.There was a need to improve the monitoring of land reform implementation and also to focus on long term solutions, rather than the short term approach;


5.Shortage of personnel within the Department should be addressed as a matter of urgency, if government was to keep pace with the demands of communities;


6.There was a need to challenge organised agriculture and private land owners to support land reform by transferring portions of their land to farm dwellers;


7.Land reform must be managed in a positive way as a necessity and integral element of national reconciliation;


8.There was a need to review and assess the current market-based approach to land reform;


9.There should be commitment by the state to provide adequate budgets and other resources for a large scale redistribution;


10. A moratorium should be placed on leasing and sales of ~ land to foreigners;


11.Amendments to Extension of Security of Tenure Act and Labour Tenants Act were required to protect the rights of the farm dwellers;


12.As a pro-active player government should purchase, expropriate and sub-divide the land when it was necessary;

13.The Department must play a meaningful role in post-settlement and agricultural production;


14.There was a need for a national Land Summit in order to review the government's achievements and current problems relating to land reform in the country;


15.Land should be redistributed equitably and the people's access to land should be increased in order to address the historical legacies of dispossession and overcrowding;


16.Security of tenure should be ensured, especially for those who historically had the least secure land tenure, particularly women and other maginalised groups;


17.Communities should be allowed to participate meaningfully in decisions about allocation, tenure and use of land;


18.Those people who had access to land Should use it productively, beneficially and in a sustainable manner, with respect both to supporting themselves and their dependents and enhancing national food security;


19.The willing seller - willing buyer land policy approach needed a review;


20.A progression land tax should be introduced;


21.The government should impose a moratorium on farm evictions;


22.There was a need for an integrated land reform approach in all spheres of government, which should include all the departments; and


23.Government should consider district/local area based approach to land reform.


COMMENTS BY THE COMMITTEE

Having considered all presentations made both oral and written, the Committee would like to make the following comments. Firstly, there seems to be a misunderstanding and/or confusion amongst the public with regard to the three pillars of the land reform programme in the country, namely; restitution, redistribution and land tenure. Secondly, while people were concerned about the pace of land reform, they appreciated the stable and legal way in which the land reform was conducted in the country. Thirdly, in the light of the complexity and the apparent lack administrative capacity the land reform programme seemed to be more protracted process than originally anticipated. Finally, it became clear to the committee from the hearings, that whilst Parliament passed the Labour Tenants Act, 1996 (Act 3, 1996) and the Extension of Security of Tenure Act, 1997 (Act 62 of 1997), which provided for security of tenure for people living on other people's land and regulated the eviction of such people under certain circumstances.> farm dwellers were still vulnerable.


THE COMMITTEE THEREFORE RECOMMENDS THAT:

1.A proper training and adequate information for law enforcement agencies in relation to the implementation of Extension of Security of Tenure Act, 1997 (Act 62 of 1997) and Labour Tenants Act, 1996 (Act 3 of 1996) needed to be intensified and properly monitored;


2. Government should increase the budget for the land reform programme


3.Government should ensure that the victims of farm evictions receive legal representation from the state as stated in the Extension of Security of Tenure Act;


4.The department must tighten up all loopholes in relation to the Extension of Security of Tenure Act and Labour Tenants Act to ensure the security of tenure for the people, who live in the rural areas and should submit those amendments to Parliament before the end of 2005.


5.Government must consider placing moratorium on the selling of agricultural land to foreigners until the Ministerial Committee on Land Ownership by Foreigners reported to the Minister;


6.The Office of the Registrar of Deeds should register land in terms of race so that land reform progress or the transfer of land to blacks could be adequately monitored;


7.Government should develop mechanisms especially within the current land policy to _dissuade the inflation of land prices unnecessarily,


8.Government must use all its legislative framework, including expropriation to acquire land;


9.Government should consider utilising all its institutions, including SETAs, to educate farm workers and farm dwellers in terms of their rights


10.There must be a proper integration of land reform amongst all spheres of government, as well as with all state departments; and


11.Government must develop mechanisms to minimise the exposure of emerging farmers to high interest bearing loans.


APPRECIATION

The committee expressed its appreciation for the passion and enthusiasm shown by stakeholders for the engagement on the pace of land reform in South Africa. It also noted with interest and appreciation the passion displayed by people who came from all over the country in order to be heard by Parliament.




 

 

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