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Extent of black land ownership unknown

The state cannot determine the extent of agricultural land ownership by black commercial farmers, because the deeds office does not keep records based on race, Beeld reported on Friday.

Mdu Shabane, director general of rural development and land reform, told this to a parliamentary portfolio committee this week.

Photo: Bloomberg. Credit: Bloomberg

Shabane was taken to task by Democratic Alliance MP Athol Trollip, because of the government's ongoing assertions that only a small percentage of land was in the hands of blacks, while black people were increasingly buying land on the open market.

Shabane said that since the 1996 adoption of a Constitution with non-racial principles, the deeds office no longer kept records based on race.

The state therefore only knew how much land had been acquired by black owners as a result of the government's redistribution process, as the government kept records of the race of people land had been given to, Shabane said.

Trollip pointed out that it was impossible for the state to determine to which degree its stated goal of placing 30 percent of agricultural land ownership in the hands of black owners could be achieved, if private purchases by black owners were not factored in to the equation. - Sapa

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