Land reform: Government needs to focus on fixing challenges with current programme

The Vumelana Advisory Fund, a non-profit organisation that works with beneficiaries of the land reform programme, has noted the outcome of the proposal to amend Section 25 of the Constitution, which sought to give effect to expropriation of land without compensation.

“While we understand the emotive nature of land ownership and the frustration that many communities feel about the slow pace of land reform, remedial action lies not in tinkering with the Constitution, but in addressing the bottlenecks that continue to impede expedient land reform,” says Peter Setou, chief executive of the Vumelana Advisory Fund.

“The land reform programme has been beset by myriad challenges, which have been echoed by the findings of the High-Level Panel Report (Motlanthe report) as well as the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform report, which detailed a number of the issues that have impacted on successful and effective land reform.

“Some of the barriers identified were external factors, such as prohibitively exorbitant asking prices for land, while some of the impediments pointed to lack of political will, corrupt bureaucrats and officials, inept communal property associations, incessant infighting within claimant communities, insufficient funding to support land reform claimants, lack of capacity by the state and absence of post-settlement support as some of the primary barriers to a successful land reform programme. These are the challenges that government should be focusing on now,” highlights Setou.

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