Citizen Reporter (Johannesburg), July 5, 2007
Government will not rest until most of the land is in the hands of black owners.
This is according to Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs Lulu Xingwana, who was reacting to recent parliamentary questions.
“Land reform remains a constitutional mandate,” she said.
“Once all the restitution claims have been settled and the redistribution target of 30% has been met, there will still be a need to improve on the ratio of 70% of agricultural land owned by whites and 30% by blacks, until land ownership in the country reflects its demographics in terms of race and gender.”
There might also be a need to examine the extent to which land is equitably distributed to address the needs of the most needy—irrespective of race, she said.
“In addition, the Department of Land Affairs will have to continue to ensure the security of tenure of land rights, especially with regard to the rights of persons or communities living on commercial farmland and communal areas in the former homelands and South African Development Trust areas.
But DA spokesman on land affairs, Maans Nel, believes the Minister’s calculations are “not a true reflection of reality”.
“The Minister forgets that 18 million hectares of land are already owned by black people in South Africa,” he said yesterday.
“This land is owned communally in the former homelands, as well as by the South African Development Trust.
“If the 30% target is reached by 2014, thereby placing 25 million hectares of land in the hands of black owners, the correct total percentages will be that 43% of land will be owned by black people, while 57% will be in white hands.”
“It is furthermore worrying that government’s land reform attempts do not necessarily focus on enhancing the productive capacity of the land.
“Food security is currently ensured by our commercial farmers and land reform should never be carried out in a manner that compromises that security,” he said.
He also warned that hampered food production would firstly harm the most vulnerable of South Africans, including those whom land reform was aimed at empowering.