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Land redistribution pushes ahead

Parliament, Cape Town - The government is set on acquiring more than 310,000 hectares of agricultural land for redistribution by next year, according to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

The 2013 Estimates of National Expenditure, tabled by the minister on Wednesday, stated that this formed part of the government's “eventually redistributing 25 million hectares”.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Credit: GCIS

It was also seeking to “recapitalise and develop” 368 new farms by 2014, and to train 400 farmers as “mentors” by that time.

The new budget allocates R3.4 billion to land reform in the coming financial year (2013/14); a further R3.5bn in 2014/15; and R3.5bn in 2015/16.

“The spending focus over the medium term will be on the recapitalisation and development of distressed farms; and land acquisition to increase access to, and the productive use of, land.”

The government has recently reiterated its intention to move away from the willing-buyer, willing-seller model of land reform, favouring what it calls the “just and equitable” principle for compensation.

According to the estimates document, 696 farms have been “recapitalised and developed” to date, 389 of which were bought through “the pro-active land acquisition strategy”, and 307 under land reform grants.

“ 1/8A total of 3/8 6,971,293 hectares have been acquired to date.”

It stated that over the medium term, spending on the land reform programme was “expected to increase to acquire 353,234 hectares of land to speed up the land reform process and recapitalise, and restore 500 farms in distress”. - Sapa

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