Land Policy, Reform & Restitution News South Africa

Need for broader collaboration with all stakeholders in land reform - Vumelana Advisory Fund

Earlier this week, the minister of agriculture and rural development, Thoko Didiza, announced that an allocation of approximately R17bn has been made for the 2023/24 financial year to implement programmes that address food security, land reform, spatial planning transformation, and contribute towards the development of rural areas, among others.
Peter Setou, chief executive of the Vumenala Advisory Fund
Peter Setou, chief executive of the Vumenala Advisory Fund

A budget of R218m has been set for land acquisition to address security of tenure and for the acquisition of 5,685 hectares of land in the current financial year. The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has also allocated a budget of R3.9bn to finalise 349 claims and settle 406 claims in this fiscal year.

Said Peter Setou, chief executive of the Vumenala Advisory Fund: “It is encouraging to see the commitments that the department has made for this budget allocation. “However, to achieve these targets, there is a need for broader collaboration with all stakeholders involved in land reform.”

He noted that while the department is making efforts to resolve claims, there is currently still a backlog of nearly 7,000 outstanding land claims, as highlighted by the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights.

“It is imperative to expedite the resolution of these claims so that affected communities can begin reaping the rewards of their land,” he said.

Recurring challenges

He highlighted that over the years, community property associations (CPAs) have grappled with recurring challenges, including post-settlement support, access to markets, skills challenges, governance issues, and overall community relations.

“While some interventions have contributed towards progress in land reform, such efforts have not been adequately scaled up. To effectively achieve results and meet the targets outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP) for land reform, broader collaboration, including support for partnerships with the private sector and other like-minded organisations, is essential,” concluded Setou.

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