Land Summit Recommendations: Department briefing

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


13 September 2005

Chairperson: Reverend P Moatshe (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Minister’s Briefing
Draft Land Summit Conference recommendation on "Willing Seller, Willing Buyer" (see Appendix)

The Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister briefed the Committee on the draft recommendations from the Land Summit Conference. The Conference had reviewed South Africa’s progress in ten years of land reform. Delegates recommended that South Africa’s land policy consist of programmes of state action and land market interventions; a proactive, state-led approach characterised by well-planned and holistic, but equitable methods; and a programme of urban and rural development. The Department felt that the Summit had reached its goals of reviewing land reform.

There was concern by the Committee that land reform was not progressing fast enough and perhaps the law had to be amended. It was agreed that the Land Summit was a positive step.

Ms Thoko Didiza, Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, stated that the purpose of the Land Summit was to see how far South Africa had come regarding land reform. The Summit had focused on equity and centralisation of the economy. The property clause of the Constitution sought a balance of protection, so the government had implemented the Land Restitution Act, the Labour Tenancy Act, and the Communal Rights Act.

Minister Didiza stated that ten years after land reform had begun, issues around labour tenants had become much more highlighted, as had market mechanisms. This collective review had not just looked at land reform and land settlement, but also the perspectives of key stakeholders.

Minister Didiza was concerned that mechanisms used thus far to acquire land were not quick enough. According to 1975 legislation, in order for the state to move, it had to rely on individuals to decide when to sell to the state. There was a need for an amendment. The Restitution Act proclaimed that the state had to re-examine legislation by looking at state land reform. The state needed to consider a land tax for individuals as an incentive to sell. It seemed that there were a large number of illegal evictions despite the laws against it. However, at a local level, all voices needed to be heard. People were very vocal about the rejection of "Willing Seller, Willing Buyer" principal.

The recommendations had been categorised for submission. It was important to plan how South Africa could best meet its land reform goals by 2014.

Mr J Bici (UDP) said there was a certain amount of immovable property. How did the Department propose to convince sellers of the expropriation idea? Would it not lead to the same situation as in Zimbabwe? Who would be the beneficiaries of such a tax and who would be the losers? How would this effect small-scale farmers? The farmworkers who had been employed for ten years or longer were protected by law, but was there any protection for workers who had worked less then ten years?

Minister Didiza replied that government had to consider a number of interventions and expropriation was one such intervention. Regarding who would benefit from taxation, it was recommended that people be given a grace period of ten years to ensure tax monies could be gained. There would be little impact on small-scale farmers as the large-scale commercial farmers would be targetted for taxation. Under current legislation, no evictions could happen without alternative land being made available. The ten-year employment rule applied to land acquisition, so all workers were protected.

Mr P Mathebe (ANC) felt that government had been quick to criticise those who were slow in making their land available, but government had also been slow in redistributing the land.

Minister Didiza said there had been calls to have the deadline date changed, but there was much debate on this from various quarters. There had also been no unanimous decisions about the best ‘starting date’, or about open assessment and financial rewards. A special case had been made with regard to the betterment scheme, for which largely middle class people wanted to apply. If people wanted to pursue the debate about land restitution, they should appeal to Parliament, as the issue was currently considered closed.

The state had redistributed almost 24 million hectares of land over the past decade. Some of the state-owned land could not be redistributed because it was communal land. Farm-dwellers were living on 11 million hectares of land, and some land under irrigation could not be redistributed. Some property owners were still in negotiations with the Department of Defence. Some of the land needed to be used for clinics or schools. A document could be provided outlining the state’s process of land redistribution with relevant statistics. It was clear that much of the land was in private hands and it needed to be released so that South Africans could share. It was important for the public to be patient.

Mr P Nefolovhodwe (APO) commented that many people were resisting change. They wanted to enrich themselves by selling land to government. They should have to decide to sell, before others mobilised in anger. The legislation needed to be amended.

Minister Dizido also felt that government needed to tighten some of the legislation, as well as administration, time constraints and policies. The Department was working on these issues.

Mr M Mzizi (IFP) stated that MPs should not waste any more time changing legislation. Expropriation was harsh but it was the only way forward. Something needed to be done now.

Minister Didiza stated that the plan had to be sustainable so that one farmer could make a living with one farm. South Africa had to learn to share. They were not using expropriation at this point because they needed to empower people.

Mr Ditshetelo (UCDP) felt the Land Summit had been positive. He wanted to know if it had achieved its goals. How quickly might the recommendations be implemented?

Minister Didiza replied that the Land Summit had achieved all the most important goals, although there had not been time to discuss all issues. She added that the value of land was difficult to determine as it depended on market sentiment and production value. The two principles varied greatly and it was unconstitutional to use only market value as a determinant.

Mr T Ramphele (ANC) stated that even if the public was patient, Parliament was failing if it did not come with recommendations. If 99% of the people agreed with redistribution of land, it should not be stopped. If the state institutionalised the "one-farmer-one-farm" principle, they needed to take into consideration a comparison of different areas. It was critical to have the input of academics.

Ms B Ntuli (ANC) stated that according to the policy, the cut-off date was final. She wanted to know the best options for land reform and how fast it could be implemented. Time was running out, and the Constitution talked of compensation.

Minister Didiza was unable to speak about programme implementation at that point. She was only able to brief the Committee on the Summit. After the proposal on implementation, the Department would come back to the Committee and further engage on the matter. She asked for the Committee’s patience.

Mr Abram (ANC) stated that there had been massive developments in housing and land in townships. The potential beneficiaries were multiplying and there needed to be holistic interventions there as well. There was a need for urgent interventions in situations where one person owned thirty to forty farms, and rented out their land for profit.

Minister Didiza stated that in reality, the state had defined the eviction process. The responsibility to follow the law fell on the individual landowner. The law outlined what steps had to be followed. For instance, there had to be sufficient notice given, and time had to be given in the event that it was rejected. In most circumstances, no-one had informed the workers or they had been given a notice but were unable to read it, so it had become too late for them to dispute the claim. The Summit delegates had agreed that this needed to be revisited so that workers were not vulnerable.

Mr J Le Roux (DA) wanted to know how land reform would affect individuals. If land was purchased tomorrow, could the owner expect to have to sell at a loss two years later? This was what all of South Africa was wondering.

Mr Ramphele asked about the state of co-ordination between different departments, services and farms. What was the impact on farmers and farm workers? Had they been consulted? What did the Summit have to say about the role of the Department?

Minister Didiza replied that they were engaged with other departments on a range of issues. It was important to ensure all workers were treated humanely and protected by law. There was a need to align and co-ordinate all government bodies in the administration of public land. The government felt that fair land reform could happen by 2014, but it depended on the reaction of the South African people.

The meeting was adjourned.



1.There is currently no Constitutional requirement that restricts our approach to land reform based solely on the principle of willing seller willing buyer

2. Nevertheless, the White Paper on South African Land Policy of 1997 mandates an approach based largely on this principle and, therefore, much of governments approach to land acquisition has in practice been based on acquisition at market prices from willing sellers.

3. Market-based land acquisitions entail reliance on the existing land market system which is characterised by a number of distortions and imperfections, such as restrictions on land subdivisions, the absence of an effective land tax, unequal access to capital markets and information, contradictory requirements in respect of municipal zoning regulations.

4. The Constitution provides for the expropriation of land with just and equitable compensation. In addition the current legal framework allows government to expropriate land in terms of the Constitutional parameters.

5. Nevertheless, in practice government has only used expropriation in a very limited number of cases.


6. South Africans have committed themselves to a target of redistributing 30% of the land by the year 2014.

7 International experience of land reform programmes demonstrates that the market on its own is unable to effectively alter the pattern of ownership in favour of equity for the targeted beneficiaries of land reform, as well as in favour of broader goals of job creation and poverty reduction

8. South Africa's own experience over the last eleven years confirms this international experience in that the pace of redistribution to the targeted groups has not been sufficient to realise our 2014 objective.


1. To reject the principle of willing buyer-willing seller'

2. The instrument of expropriation should be used actively and selectively in terms of the Constitutional principles which provide for expropriation in terms of a law of general application and. subject to compensation, the amount of which and the time and manner of payment of which have either been agreed to by those affected or decided by or approved by a court

3. That, furthermore, amount of compensation should have regard to the following Constitutional principles.

The current use of the property

The history of the acquisition and use of the property

The market value of the property

The extent of direct state investment and subsidy in the acquisition and beneficial capital improvement of the property

The purpose of expropriation

4. That the state should actively intervene in the land market including through:

the use of expropriations,

scrapping of restrictions on subdivision of land,

extensive support for small-scale agriculture,

reversing the growing concentration of land holdings,

promoting the principle of "one farmer one farm"

changing the current large-farm-size culture,

regulating foreign ownership,

imposing a land tax

regulating land use to optimise social benefit.

5. The principles underlying our approach should include the decentralisation of the land reform process, through participatory and people-centred methods which are area-based, planned and which integrate land and agrarian transformation into wider development priorities, particularly through the Integrated Development Plans (IDPs)

6. South Africa's land policy should consist of:

a) Programmes of state actions and land market interventions

b) A pro-active and state led approach characterised by well planned and holistic but just and equitable methods

c) A programme to attain the objective of a better life for all by a people's contract to create work and to fight poverty through urban and rural development.


No related


No related documents


  • We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: