436,563 hectares released under land distribution programme

Deputy President David Mabuza says 436,563 hectares of land have to date been released and approved for allocation, under the land distribution programme. He said this while responding to oral questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday, 12 May.

“To date, 436,563 hectares have been released and approved for allocation under the land redistribution programme, and over 5,540 hectares of these 436,563 hectares have been approved for disposal and the remainder for leasing,” he said.

The release of the land is part of the 700,000 hectares announced by the president in his February 2020 State of the Nation Address.

David Mabuza said that further to this, government will be releasing state-owned land to address development pressures around urban and rural human settlements, agricultural production, and industrial development.

“The process of releasing state land for agricultural purposes is targeted at vulnerable groups of our society, and will empower women, youth and people with disabilities.

“To ensure that land is productively utilised by beneficiaries, government is paying attention to the provision of effective post-settlement support. We are focusing on improving coordination of integrated post-settlement packages to beneficiaries of land, including finance, infrastructure and access to water resources for development/

He said, meanwhile, that while a lot of work still remains, government has made significant strides in implementing the recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture.

In December 2019, Cabinet adopted a report on the government’s response to the recommendations of the Advisory Panel on Agriculture and Land Reform. At the time, Cabinet emphasised the need to move with speed in the implementation of the panel’s recommendations to ensure that government’s land reform programme urgently responds to developmental imperatives of restorative justice, economic inclusion and social cohesion.

“For us, the work of the panel foregrounded the centrality of the three key pillars of land reform, namely restitution, redistribution and land tenure.

“As we implement the panel’s recommendations, we will continue to pay equal attention to these key policy instruments while ensuring that our approach to land reform does not impact negatively on agricultural production and the economy in general.”

He said that Cabinet has adopted a position paper on land administration and tenure reform for consultation with various stakeholders, and that the process of consultation with the provinces on the position paper is in progress.

This will be followed by the land summit with traditional leaders, to find common ground on land tenure reform and approaches to land under the custodianship of traditional leaders.

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