BFAP report on FS Agriculture’s Land Audit:
The report on Free State Agriculture’s land audit, which the Bureau for Food and AgriculturePolicy (BFAP) completed on instruction of the organisation, can serve as an example of how the government and industry organisations can collaborate in order to obtain mutually beneficial results with regards to land reform. According to the report this audit serves as an example for other provinces. The audit started in 2012, and was completed by the end of 2013.
The “land market” has been vilified as the main reason for the failure of land reform, despite a lack of evidence of its failure. Furthermore the Free State has been criticized for poor Performance when it comes to land reform. Against this background, Free State Agriculture Initiated a process for a comprehensive land audit in the province, working closely with the Provincial branch of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR). The aim Was to physically categorise each parcel of land within the borders of the province.
The results of the audit show that very little progress has been made with narrowly defined land reform in the province. Only 2.96% of previously white owned agricultural land in the province is currently held by black people, who have been able to acquire 148 423 ha on the open market and have access to 4 827 ha through equity schemes (i.e. they hold title to this land), while a total of just over 209 000 ha has been transferred through various land reform programs (where the state still holds the title). Thus, i.e. for every 1 ha the state has managed to acquire, the private market, through the “willing buyer – willing seller principle”, has been able to purchase almost 0.75ha.
The audit also found that a mere 5 771 ha has been transferred through restitution programs.The audit has also found that the Free State has received only 1.3% of restitution spending to date, and less than its fair share of redistribution. Of this 1,3% portion, 76% was used to settle claims through financial compensation, while 10,6% was spent on land acquisition and 13,3% went towards support grants. Furthermore, only 12.4% of the land acquired (or approved for acquisition) has been transferred to beneficiaries.
On the other hand the report finds that it is possible that a total of 3,6% of agricultural land could have been transferred in the first 18 years of democracy. This figure is higher than the confirmed figure, but suggests that a substantial portion of land identified as “unknown” could actually be land reform land.
“Free State Agriculture in partnership with the DLDRD have succeeded in producing the mostcredible audit to date by incorporating the market led contribution to land reform statisticslacking from the state land audits,” according to the report. The exercise has also revealed some flaws in the deeds registry’s means of capturing data that inter alia leads to double
counting of servitudes.“The mobilisation and use of grassroots level agricultural associations with their local institutional knowledge proved invaluable in conducting the audit, which will be difficult to replace by extension officers (or any other organ of state). A challenge going forward is tomaintain and update the audit to have an accurate real-time measure of land reform in South Africa,” says BFAP. As the exercise cost Free State Agriculture a large sum of money to completein direct costs alone, a viable cost sharing model between the state and organised agricultureneeds to be compiled to keep the process going.
Dan Kriek, chairperson of Free State Agriculture, has liaised with the national Department of Land Reform and Rural Development, for the possibility of using Free State Agriculture’s model on a national basis. Feedback in this regard is expected soon. The audit has highlighted the slow progress of land reform in the province, but Free State Agriculture’s congress has put forward numerous proposals in step with the National Development Plan on how this can be addressed and how land can be transferred to new
farmers to be used productively.
For the full report visit Free State Agriculture’s website at –
Or find the report on BFAP’s website -
For more information, contact dr. Jack Armour at 051 444 4609