MINISTER of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza at a media briefing to unpack the contents of the report of the Presidential Expert Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture in Pretoria during July.
While the Cabinet has endorsed more of the 73 recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture, it rejected the creation of a Land Reform Fund, among eight other recommendations.

This was revealed by Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza yesterday in Pretoria, where she was updated on the implementation of the report, which was handed over to President Cyril Ramaphosa in July.

Didiza said despite complaints over the lack of resources regarding land reform and redistribution, the country’s fiscus would be able to handle the costs if they were used properly and efficiently.

“Our view is that creating a special fund at the moment might not be an appropriate step. If you look at the allocation in the budget of land affairs, on agriculture, which supports farmers and human settlements, we think its judicious application will actually enable us to undertake the work that we are supposed to as the government in respect of land reform,” she said.

As part of the recommendations of the panel, Didiza said her department was finalising the Beneficiary Selection Policy, which is to be used to determine those eligible to benefit from land reform.

“At the moment, nobody can say from the outset how to become a beneficiary for land allocation, except when you apply with the department.

“The transparency in the adjudication of who qualifies has not been quite open. You will know that this is the criteria around which I am ­measured when I qualify, or when I don’t,” she said.

Didiza also indicated that the ­government would not rush into repealing the Ingonyama Trust Act, despite the growing calls to do so.

The report accused the Ingonyama Trust of infringing on the rights and land tenure security of communities under its jurisdiction, despite the Ingonyama Trust Act’s provisions stating that land would be administered for their material welfare and social well-being.

“The Ingonyama Trust has unilaterally assumed the role of a landowner by converting the people’s permission to occupy certificates to leases, and charging them escalating rentals for occupying the same land on which they have lived for many generations,” the report says.

In 2017, the High-Level Panel on SA legislation led by former president Kgalema Motlanthe also called for the scrapping of the Ingonyama Trust Act to ensure the security of tenure for citizens falling under the provisions of the trust.

Political Bureau