Parliament - Government will push ahead with plans to give farmworkers and dwellers security of tenure and to protect communal tenure to enable beneficiaries of reform to hold onto land, Minister Gugile Nkwinti said on Wednesday.
In his budget vote speech in Parliament, Nkwinti told MPs the two principles were essential to the state's accelerated land reform drive and were enshrined in bills that would be introduced in Parliament soon.
The Communal Property Associations Amendment Bill provided for the registration of title deeds in the names of individual households, and applied to both farm labourers and dwellers.
“It is strongly believed that the bill will help bring about a stable, cohesive and conducive atmosphere in the farming communities.”
Nkwinti said institutionalising the land rights of vulnerable groups was critical because it would enable them to use these rights as collateral with banks, and this would prevent a past trend where many lost land and it reverted back to white ownership.
“We have to protect that land from land sharks,” he added.
He reiterated that he remained committed to expediting new expropriation legislation and limiting foreign land ownership. The Registration of Land Holdings Bill is one of five that would be tabled in the legislature and provided for “regulation of land ownership by foreign nationals”.
The minister said his policy proposals - which have raised concerns in the agricultural community - stemmed from ruling party resolutions and supported the principles of the National Development Plan on land and agriculture.
However, Nkwinti said, the NDP called for potential beneficiaries of land reform to receive training before they took transfer, and this was impractical.
“There is a catch here, the catch is can you imagine us starting to train people before we transfer land. It means we would take a number of years training people, training people and then we transfer the land. These things should happen simultaneously and that is how we are approaching it.”