Minister’s admission to shortcomings in Land Department worrying

The 2019/2020 report of the auditor-general shows claims of more than R2bn being instituted against the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development & Land Reform (DARDLR) for the eviction of farmers from their profitable farming enterprises by incompetent officials. This Minister Didiza admitted in Parliament recently. This basically relates to state expropriation without compensation of new black commercial farmers on state land.

Minister Didiza further admitted in parliament last week Tuesday that her officials struggle to manage the massive property portfolio of farms under state control. The 700,000ha redistribution plan was only for land which the state thought was lying idle, but obviously had farmers on it and farming, some successfully. The state has no factual recount of who owns land in South Africa. There is no transparent picture on land access for South Africa.

What is clear from studies done by the IRR is that most citizens are not interested in land for farming, but in jobs, education and safety. “Our fears are confirmed and that is very worrying that Minister Didiza admits to the state of disaster of the national department tasked with managing land in our country and the shortcomings in this department. This in spite of the Minister and governments’ pressure to continue with expropriation of land”, said Francois Wilken, Free State Agriculture’s (FSA) president.

Wilken says that FSA’s Stop Expropriation campaign made it very clear that if the state is serious about real agricultural sector inclusive growth and land reform in the “public interest” it would release the 5500 state farms into private full-title ownership. This he says is not by merely handing over title-deeds, but:
1. Through highly subsidised credit, capped per individual for the really serious new farmer to enable them to buy a farm from the state or on the open market.
2. Also essential in the plan for success, says Wilken, is “training and a suitable support structure to assist these new commercial farmers achieve commercial success.
a. This includes business (labour and financial) management training and financial mentorship.
b. Currently it’s the banks, agri-Businesses and commodity associations forming a team who are supporting successful new commercial farmers. They also involve experienced commercial farmers as mentors.
3. Ensuring the right beneficiaries get access to the land and not following the failed Military Veteran, Women and Youth allocation ideology, but making sure all applicants can and will be able to farm successfully before being issued a loan.                                                       4. Opening up the space for farmworkers as owners of new land or as shareholders to also apply for these loans and that their equivalent land share also to be documented in the land audit as long as they fit in the framework for success above.

FSA looks forward to assisting the DARDLR in helping create the enabling environment for real agricultural sector growth and land reform in the best “public interest”.

Minister se erkenning van tekortkominge in departement van landbou kommerwekkend

Die 2019/2020 verslag van die ouditeur-generaal toon eise van meer as R2 miljard wat teen die Departement van Landbou, Landelike Ontwikkeling en Grondhervorming ingestel word weens die uitsetting van boere van hul winsgewende boerderyondernemings deur onbevoegde amptenare. Dit is onlangs deur minister Didiza in die parlement erken. Dit hou basies verband met staatsonteiening sonder vergoeding van nuwe swart kommersiële boere op staatsgrond.

Minister Didiza het verlede week Dinsdag verder in die parlement erken dat haar amptenare sukkel om die massiewe eiendomsportefeulje van plase onder staatsbeheer te bestuur. Die herverdelingsplan van 700 000 ha was slegs vir grond wat volgens die staat onproduktief was, maar het natuurlik reeds boere gehad, sommige baie suksesvol. Die staat het geen feitelike weergawe van wie grond in Suid-Afrika besit nie. Daar is geen deursigtige prentjie oor toegang tot grond vir Suid-Afrika nie.

Wat duidelik blyk uit studies wat deur die Instituut vir Rasseverhoudinge (IRR) gedoen is, is dat die meeste burgers nie belangstel in grond vir boerdery nie, maar in werk, opvoeding en veiligheid. “Ons vrese is bevestig en dit is kommerwekkend dat Minister Didiza die ramptoestand en tekortkominge van die nasionale departement, wat getaak is om grond in ons land te bestuur, erken. Dit ondanks die druk van die minister en die regering om met onteiening van grond voort te gaan.”, het Francois Wilken, president van die Vrystaat Landbou (VL), gesê.

Wilken sê dat VL se ‘Stop Onteiening-veldtog’ dit baie duidelik gemaak het dat indien die staat ernstig is oor ware inklusiewe groei en grondhervorming in die landbousektor en in die “openbare belang”, dit die 5 500 staatsplase in privaat voltitel eienaarskap sal vrystel. Dit is, volgens Wilken, nie deur slegs titelaktes oor te gee nie maar:
1. Deur middel van hoogs gesubsidieerde krediet, met ‘n plafon per individu vir die ernstige boer, wat hulle in staat sal stel om ‘n plaas by die staat of op die ope mark te koop.
2. Ook noodsaaklik in die suksesplan is opleiding en ‘n geskikte ondersteuningstruktuur om hierdie nuwe kommersiële boere te help om kommersiële sukses te behaal, is nodig.

a. Dit sluit in opleiding vir besigheidsbestuur (arbeid en finansieel) en finansiële mentorskap.
b. Tans is dit die banke, landboubesighede en kommoditeits organisasies wat ‘n span vorm om suksesvolle nuwe kommersiële boere te ondersteun. Hulle betrek ook ervare kommersiële boere as mentors.
3. Om te verseker dat die regte begunstigdes toegang tot die grond kry en nie die mislukte militêre veteraan, vroue- en jeug toedelings ideologie nie, maar om seker te maak dat alle aansoekers suksesvol kan en sal kan boer voordat ‘n lening aan hulle uitgereik word.
4. Ruimte te skep vir plaaswerkers om as eienaars of aandeelhouers van nuwe grond ook aansoek te doen vir hierdie lenings en dat hul gelykstaande grondaandeel ook in die grondoudit gedokumenteer moet word, solank dit in die raamwerk vir bogenoemde sukses pas.

Wilken het bevestig dat Vrystaat Landbou bereid is om die departement van Landbou te help om die bemagtigende omgewing te skep vir werklike groei in die landbousektor en grondhervorming in die beste “openbare belang”.