Mamre. 130624. The 2500ha of land that has been successfully claimed through the lands claims process houses informal residents that have become illegal dwellers. File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Mamre. 130624. The 2500ha of land that has been successfully claimed through the lands claims process houses informal residents that have become illegal dwellers. File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

A clear compensation policy is key to land reform - experts

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Aug 26, 2021

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The government needs to have a clear compensation policy that will align with its objective of expropriating land without compensation, land experts say.

Minister of Public Workers and Infrastructure Patricia de Lille hosted a land reform webinar on Thursday aimed at assessing whether there was enough representation of women in land ownership.

Professor Ruth Hall, from the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape, said the government had to come up with a clear compensation policy to appease landowners in rural areas that they would be compensated if the government would expropriate land.

She said several people, some women in rural areas, were apprehensive about the government's intentions because of a lack of assurance. She said a clear compensation policy accompanying the expropriation objective would help clarify issues. She said there was no question that the government had, in law, the right to expropriate land.

Hall said another concern was to assure citizens on what the land would be used for and that it would be distributed fairly.

Attorney Bulelwa Mabasa, a director and the head of the land reform restitution and tenure practise at Werksmans Attorneys, shared similar sentiments to Hall.

Mabasa said there needs to be a clear compensation plan. She also emphasised that expropriation was not the silver bullet to land reform.

She said the government had to decide on land tenure and what it envisions.

She added that the constitution does not state who should benefit from land reform, and this needs to be accompanied so that women can be stated as first beneficiaries if needed.

She used Botswana as an example of a country where land policy clearly stated the prioritisation of women.

De Lille also agreed with Mabasa and Hall that expropriation on its own was not the silver bullet.

On the support of local and rural farmers, Hall said there were about 200 000 to 350 000 small scale farmers who sold informally. She said land reform and support should be holistic.

Hall said some small scale farmers found issues with accessing the market because of issues with secondary roads, tenure and not enough funding.

She said the land reform initiative had to take into account all of the challenges and barriers faced by farmers who were desperate to access markets and grow.

Political Bureau

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