ATC080609: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Land Affairs on Budget Vote: 27 Department of Land Affairs, dated 20 May 2008

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Land Affairs on Budget Vote: 27 Department of Land Affairs, dated 20 May 2008.

 

 

The Portfolio Committee, having been briefed and having considered Budget Vote: 27 Department of Land Affairs for the 2008/09 financial year in terms of rule 201 (c) of the National Assembly, reports as follows:

 

1. Introduction and Overview

 

The Department of Land Affairs derives its mandate from Section 25 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act, 1996 (Act 108 of 1996), which protects property rights while placing an obligation on the State to implement land reform. Therefore, the department has the responsibility of providing access to land and extend land rights, with particular emphasis on the previously disadvantaged communities.

 

The President, in his 2008 State of the Nation address, highlighted the slow land redistribution process and called for an urgent programme of action for land and agrarian reform in terms of Apex Priority 7. The President, furthermore, called for the urgent finalization of the Land Use Management Bill.

 

Mr Tozi Gwanya, Director-General of the Department of Land Affairs, briefed the committee and provided an overview of the departments’ goals and objectives and details of the budget for the 2008/09 financial year on 11 March 2008.  The main strategic aim of the department is to create and maintain an equitable and sustainable land dispensation that results in social and economic development for all South Africans.

 

The following are the priority areas identified by the department for the 2008/09 financial year:

 

·        Develop a plan for an effective settlement and implementation strategy, thus providing comprehensive support to land reform beneficiaries.

·        Processing of the Land Use Management Bill.

·        Finalization of the state land audit.

·        Provision of land for sustainable human settlement.

·        Fast track land reform delivery by using tools such as expropriation, in line with the provisions of the Constitution.

·        Develop policy and legislation to implement the recommendations relating to the review of willing buyer-willing seller.

·        Liaise with state departments, including national, provincial and municipalities as well as state owned enterprises to make state land available for land reform purposes.

·        Implement the Communal Land Rights Act (CLARA) to unleash development potential in the former homeland areas.

·        Develop programmes for the empowerment of women, children, persons with disabilities and those living with HIV/AIDS, and older persons.

 

The following are the key priority programme targets for the 2008/09 financial year:

 

2. Programme Analysis:

 

The Director-General provided details of the key performance indicators (KPIs) of each programme of the Department of Land Affairs.

 

 

The Director-General tabled the department’s budget allocation for the 2008/09 financial year for each of the five programmes i.e. Programme 1: Administration; Programme 2: Surveys and Mapping; Programme 3: Cadastral Surveys; Programme 4: Land Restitution; Programme 5: Land Reform; Programme 6: Spatial Planning and Information; Programme 7: Auxillary and Associated Services.

 

 

Budget Breakdown:

 

Programme

Budget

Administration

R434 582 million

Surveys and Mapping

R88 189 million

Cadastral Surveys

R105 334 million

Restitution

R3 097 305  billion

Land Reform

R2 888 469 billion

Spatial Planning and Information

R32 286 million

Auxiliary and Associated Services

R13 231 million

TOTAL BUDGET

R6 659 396 billion  

 

 

Programme 1: Administration

 

 

The programme provides strategic and logistical support through executive and corporate services. Allocation for the 2008/09 financial year to this programme amounts to R434 582 million compared to R426 554 million for the 2007/8 financial year.   

 

Programme 2: Surveys and Mapping

 

The programme provides national mapping, aerial photography and other imagery and national control survey systems, in support of national infrastructure and sustainable development. It provides professional and technical services in support of land reform and other public services. Allocation for the 2008/09 financial year amounts to R88 189 million compared to R 98 085 million for the 2007/08 financial year. 

 

Programme 3: Cadastral Surveys

               

The programme provides control of all cadastral surveys and cadastral spatial information services. The allocation for the programme is R105 334 million for the 2008/9 financial year compared to R137 937 million for the 2007/08 financial year.

 

 

 

Programme 4: Restitution               

 

The programme takes responsibility for settling land restitution claims in accordance with the provisions of the Restitution of Land Rights Act (1994), and provides settlement support to beneficiaries. For the 2008/09 financial year, allocation for this programme amounts to R3 097 305 billion compared to R3 638 611 billion for the 2007/08 financial year.

 

Programme 5: Land Reform

 

The programme takes responsibility for providing sustainable land redistribution programmes, tenure security for all occupiers of land in South Africa, public land information, and the management of state land. The programme allocation for the 2008/09 financial year amounts to R2 888 469 billion compared to R1 593 471 billion for the 2007/08 financial year.

                                                                                    

Programme 6: Spatial Planning and Information

 

The programme provides for the national land use management, spatial planning and spatial information systems. For the 2008/09 financial year, the allocation for the programme amounts to R32 286 million compared to R22 206 million for the 2007/08 financial year.  

 

 

Programme 7: Auxiliary and associated services

 

The programmes takes responsibility for augmenting the registration of the deeds trading account, acquiring vehicles for departmental use, departmental capital works, and contributes to the Public Sector Education and Training Authority. The programme allocation for the 2008/09 financial year is R13 231 million compared to R11 593 million for the 2007/08 financial year.

 

The total allocation for department for 2008/09 financial year amounts to R6 659 396 billion compared to the R5 928 269 billion for the 2007/08 financial year.

 

 

3.         Commission on Restitution of Land Rights

 

The Commission was established in terms of the Restitution Act, 1994 (Act No. 22 of 1994). Their mandate is to provide equitable redress to victims of racial land dispossession; provide access to rights in land; including land ownership and sustainable development; and to foster national reconciliation and stability.

 

In an attempt to meet the deadline for the settlement of all land claims, the Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs adopted the project 'Gijima' to accelerate the settlement and finalization of outstanding land claims.

 

The majority of the urban claims have been settled, with the majority of outstanding claims being rural claims. The department reported a number of challenges that inhibit the finalization of rural claims, however, they have also developed strategies to overcome these challenges, and these strategies include:

 

·        The use of expropriation where negotiations fail;

·        Ensuring co-operative governance and obtaining buy-in from all role-players for a post settlement support framework;

·        Strengthening the Commission's ability to engage with communities; and

·        The implementation of the Settlement Implementation Support Strategy as a mechanism to ensure sustainable land settlements.

 

3.1 Committee observations

 

The committee considered the budget and the strategic plan for the 2008/9 financial year, and expressed the following concerns:

 

a)     Whether or not the Commission has the capacity to deliver settlement support;

b)     The absence of succession plans for land restitution beneficiaries once farms and land have been bought from farm owners;

c)     The capacitation of staff at this late stage of the land reform process;

d)     The ability of the Commission to settle all land claims by the target date of 2008;

e)     The availability of funds for the Commission to settle outstanding claims; and

f)       The slow pace of the land restitution process.

 

4. Analysis of the Budget Vote and Strategic Plan by the Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS):

 

In an attempt to facilitate stakeholder involvement in the analysis of the annual report of the Department of Land Affairs annual report the committee invited Dr Ruth Hall of the Programme of Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of the Western Cape to present an analysis on the Budget and Strategic Plans for the 2008/09 financial year of the Department of Land Affairs.

 

Dr Hall presented a paper on her analysis and her findings were as follows:

 

  • Funds for restitution have decreased by 7% from the previous financial year, resulting in a lower allocation as requested by the Commission of Restitution of Land Rights;
  • The shifting deadlines for the Commission have been unrealistic and early closure of the Commission will further delay this process;
  • The outstanding claims of the Commission are complex and require more funding and time than allocated;
  • Existing commitments for restitution exceed the budget provision by R7 billion;
  • Though there was underspending of 63% for land acquisition in the previous financial year the allocation for the 2008/09 financial has increased;
  • Greater financial input into the acquisition of land implies that the state is planning to play a bigger role in the land market. Funds assigned for land acquisition have not been matched with funds for household grants or funds for post settlement support;
  • That the Department of Land Affairs is a small department with an ambitious mandate weakened by a high staff turnover and vacant posts; and
  • That the strategic plan and budget of the department shows a mismatch between the intended scale of the programme and the actual resources, policies and systems available to implement the programme.

 

Dr Hall recommended the following:

 

  • Ring fencing resources for dedicated purposes, particularly farm tenure;
  • Investing in monitoring and evaluation to determine the impact of programmes, and in the long term justify larger commitments to this purpose;
  • Attracting and retaining skilled staff; and
  • Changing the ratio of capital to current budgets.

 

 

Upon deliberating and seeking clarity in relation to the budget, the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Land Affairs raised the following concerns:

 

 

  • Members noted with concern the huge capacity challenge within the Department;
  • Members further noted that beneficiaries have not been sufficiently capacitated to ensure that their projects are either sustainable or successful;
  • Whether or not land reform and land restitution targets are realistic and attainable;
  • Finalization of the state land audit and when this is expected to occur;
  • The progress made in the review of the willing-buyer-willing seller policy;
  • The department appears to be chasing numbers in terms of their land reform targets, and what mechanisms have been set in place to ensure the sustainability of these projects; and
  • Whether or not the department was making real progress in its stated objectives or not. The department consistently highlights success in terms of the number of projects funded and the numbers of beneficiaries that have benefited as a result. The committee would like to see real evidence of land reform projects funded by the department that are sustainable and that these projects can ensure an income for those beneficiaries.                                                                                                                 

 

 

5. Conclusion

 

 

The Portfolio Committee expresses its appreciation to the department for its presentation.

 

Recent oversight visits by members to the provinces highlights the desperate need for post settlement support of land reform beneficiaries. A recent example of this was observed during a visit to the North West Province, where beneficiaries struggled to maintain and earn a living from their enterprises. The department needs to seriously consider the feasibility and sustainability of projects funded and ensure that funding for land acquisition is matched by funding for post settlement support.

 

The committee observes the ambitious land reform and restitution targets set by the department and queries the attainability of these targets, citing that the budgets allocated do not match what needs to be achieved by the department.

 

Post settlement support to land reform and land claims beneficiaries needed to be addressed seriously by the Department. This support needs to be in line with the objectives of LARP and in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture.

 

 

4. Report of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Land Affairs on Budget Vote: 27 Department of Land Affairs, dated 20 May 2008.

 

The Portfolio Committee, having been briefed and having considered Budget Vote: 27 Department of Land Affairs for the 2008/09 financial year in terms of rule 201 (c) of the National Assembly, reports as follows:

 

1. Introduction and Overview

 

The Department of Land Affairs derives its mandate from Section 25 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act, 1996 (Act 108 of 1996), which protects property rights while placing an obligation on the State to implement land reform. Therefore, the department has the responsibility of providing access to land and extend land rights, with particular emphasis on the previously disadvantaged communities.

 

The President, in his 2008 State of the Nation address, highlighted the slow land redistribution process and called for an urgent programme of action for land and agrarian reform in terms of Apex Priority 7. The President, furthermore, called for the urgent finalization of the Land Use Management Bill.

 

Mr Tozi Gwanya, Director-General of the Department of Land Affairs, briefed the committee and provided an overview of the departments’ goals and objectives and details of the budget for the 2008/09 financial year on 11 March 2008.  The main strategic aim of the department is to create and maintain an equitable and sustainable land dispensation that results in social and economic development for all South Africans.

 

The following are the priority areas identified by the department for the 2008/09 financial year:

 

·        Develop a plan for an effective settlement and implementation strategy, thus providing comprehensive support to land reform beneficiaries.

·        Processing of the Land Use Management Bill.

·        Finalization of the state land audit.

·        Provision of land for sustainable human settlement.

·        Fast track land reform delivery by using tools such as expropriation, in line with the provisions of the Constitution.

·        Develop policy and legislation to implement the recommendations relating to the review of willing buyer-willing seller.

·        Liaise with state departments, including national, provincial and municipalities as well as state owned enterprises to make state land available for land reform purposes.

·        Implement the Communal Land Rights Act (CLARA) to unleash development potential in the former homeland areas.

·        Develop programmes for the empowerment of women, children, persons with disabilities and those living with HIV/AIDS, and older persons.

 

The following are the key priority programme targets for the 2008/09 financial year:

 

2. Programme Analysis:

 

The Director-General provided details of the key performance indicators (KPIs) of each programme of the Department of Land Affairs.

 

 

The Director-General tabled the department’s budget allocation for the 2008/09 financial year for each of the five programmes i.e. Programme 1: Administration; Programme 2: Surveys and Mapping; Programme 3: Cadastral Surveys; Programme 4: Land Restitution; Programme 5: Land Reform; Programme 6: Spatial Planning and Information; Programme 7: Auxillary and Associated Services.

 

 

Budget Breakdown:

 

Programme

Budget

Administration

R434 582 million

Surveys and Mapping

R88 189 million

Cadastral Surveys

R105 334 million

Restitution

R3 097 305  billion

Land Reform

R2 888 469 billion

Spatial Planning and Information

R32 286 million

Auxiliary and Associated Services

R13 231 million

TOTAL BUDGET

R6 659 396 billion  

 

 

Programme 1: Administration

 

 

The programme provides strategic and logistical support through executive and corporate services. Allocation for the 2008/09 financial year to this programme amounts to R434 582 million compared to R426 554 million for the 2007/8 financial year.   

 

 

 

Programme 2: Surveys and Mapping

 

The programme provides national mapping, aerial photography and other imagery and national control survey systems, in support of national infrastructure and sustainable development. It provides professional and technical services in support of land reform and other public services. Allocation for the 2008/09 financial year amounts to R88 189 million compared to R 98 085 million for the 2007/08 financial year. 

 

Programme 3: Cadastral Surveys

               

The programme provides control of all cadastral surveys and cadastral spatial information services. The allocation for the programme is R105 334 million for the 2008/9 financial year compared to R137 937 million for the 2007/08 financial year.

 

Programme 4: Restitution               

 

The programme takes responsibility for settling land restitution claims in accordance with the provisions of the Restitution of Land Rights Act (1994), and provides settlement support to beneficiaries. For the 2008/09 financial year, allocation for this programme amounts to R3 097 305 billion compared to R3 638 611 billion for the 2007/08 financial year.

 

Programme 5: Land Reform

 

The programme takes responsibility for providing sustainable land redistribution programmes, tenure security for all occupiers of land in South Africa, public land information, and the management of state land. The programme allocation for the 2008/09 financial year amounts to R2 888 469 billion compared to R1 593 471 billion for the 2007/08 financial year.

                                                                                    

Programme 6: Spatial Planning and Information

 

The programme provides for the national land use management, spatial planning and spatial information systems. For the 2008/09 financial year, the allocation for the programme amounts to R32 286 million compared to R22 206 million for the 2007/08 financial year.  

 

 

Programme 7: Auxiliary and associated services

 

The programmes takes responsibility for augmenting the registration of the deeds trading account, acquiring vehicles for departmental use, departmental capital works, and contributes to the Public Sector Education and Training Authority. The programme allocation for the 2008/09 financial year is R13 231 million compared to R11 593 million for the 2007/08 financial year.

 

The total allocation for department for 2008/09 financial year amounts to R6 659 396 billion compared to the R5 928 269 billion for the 2007/08 financial year.

 

 

3.         Commission on Restitution of Land Rights

 

The Commission was established in terms of the Restitution Act, 1994 (Act No. 22 of 1994). Their mandate is to provide equitable redress to victims of racial land dispossession; provide access to rights in land; including land ownership and sustainable development; and to foster national reconciliation and stability.

 

In an attempt to meet the deadline for the settlement of all land claims, the Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs adopted the project 'Gijima' to accelerate the settlement and finalization of outstanding land claims.

 

The majority of the urban claims have been settled, with the majority of outstanding claims being rural claims. The department reported a number of challenges that inhibit the finalization of rural claims, however, they have also developed strategies to overcome these challenges, and these strategies include:

 

·        The use of expropriation where negotiations fail;

·        Ensuring co-operative governance and obtaining buy-in from all role-players for a post settlement support framework;

·        Strengthening the Commission's ability to engage with communities; and

·        The implementation of the Settlement Implementation Support Strategy as a mechanism to ensure sustainable land settlements.

 

3.1 Committee observations

 

The committee considered the budget and the strategic plan for the 2008/9 financial year, and expressed the following concerns:

 

a)     Whether or not the Commission has the capacity to deliver settlement support;

b)     The absence of succession plans for land restitution beneficiaries once farms and land have been bought from farm owners;

c)     The capacitation of staff at this late stage of the land reform process;

d)     The ability of the Commission to settle all land claims by the target date of 2008;

e)     The availability of funds for the Commission to settle outstanding claims; and

f)       The slow pace of the land restitution process.

 

4. Analysis of the Budget Vote and Strategic Plan by the Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS):

 

In an attempt to facilitate stakeholder involvement in the analysis of the annual report of the Department of Land Affairs annual report the committee invited Dr Ruth Hall of the Programme of Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of the Western Cape to present an analysis on the Budget and Strategic Plans for the 2008/09 financial year of the Department of Land Affairs.

 

Dr Hall presented a paper on her analysis and her findings were as follows:

 

  • Funds for restitution have decreased by 7% from the previous financial year, resulting in a lower allocation as requested by the Commission of Restitution of Land Rights;
  • The shifting deadlines for the Commission have been unrealistic and early closure of the Commission will further delay this process;
  • The outstanding claims of the Commission are complex and require more funding and time than allocated;
  • Existing commitments for restitution exceed the budget provision by R7 billion;
  • Though there was underspending of 63% for land acquisition in the previous financial year the allocation for the 2008/09 financial has increased;
  • Greater financial input into the acquisition of land implies that the state is planning to play a bigger role in the land market. Funds assigned for land acquisition have not been matched with funds for household grants or funds for post settlement support;
  • That the Department of Land Affairs is a small department with an ambitious mandate weakened by a high staff turnover and vacant posts; and
  • That the strategic plan and budget of the department shows a mismatch between the intended scale of the programme and the actual resources, policies and systems available to implement the programme.

 

Dr Hall recommended the following:

 

  • Ring fencing resources for dedicated purposes, particularly farm tenure;
  • Investing in monitoring and evaluation to determine the impact of programmes, and in the long term justify larger commitments to this purpose;
  • Attracting and retaining skilled staff; and
  • Changing the ratio of capital to current budgets.

 

 

Upon deliberating and seeking clarity in relation to the budget, the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Land Affairs raised the following concerns:

 

 

  • Members noted with concern the huge capacity challenge within the Department;
  • Members further noted that beneficiaries have not been sufficiently capacitated to ensure that their projects are either sustainable or successful;
  • Whether or not land reform and land restitution targets are realistic and attainable;
  • Finalization of the state land audit and when this is expected to occur;
  • The progress made in the review of the willing-buyer-willing seller policy;
  • The department appears to be chasing numbers in terms of their land reform targets, and what mechanisms have been set in place to ensure the sustainability of these projects; and
  • Whether or not the department was making real progress in its stated objectives or not. The department consistently highlights success in terms of the number of projects funded and the numbers of beneficiaries that have benefited as a result. The committee would like to see real evidence of land reform projects funded by the department that are sustainable and that these projects can ensure an income for those beneficiaries.                                                                                                                

 

 

 

5. Conclusion

 

The Portfolio Committee expresses its appreciation to the department for its presentation.

 

Recent oversight visits by members to the provinces highlights the desperate need for post settlement support of land reform beneficiaries. A recent example of this was observed during a visit to the North West Province, where beneficiaries struggled to maintain and earn a living from their enterprises. The department needs to seriously consider the feasibility and sustainability of projects funded and ensure that funding for land acquisition is matched by funding for post settlement support.

 

The committee observes the ambitious land reform and restitution targets set by the department and queries the attainability of these targets, citing that the budgets allocated do not match what needs to be achieved by the department.

 

Post settlement support to land reform and land claims beneficiaries needed to be addressed seriously by the Department. This support needs to be in line with the objectives of LARP and in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture.

 

 

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