Government is pushing ahead with land reform - Mabuza
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Cape Town - Deputy President David Mabuza says the government's process of land rights inquiry to ascertain the status of land occupation has been advertised for disposal to emerging farmers.
Mabuza said there were many ways to skin a cat.
"We decided to advertise and simultaneously take this inquiry. The purpose is not to penalise people. The purpose is to dispose of this land correctly and put this land in the books," he said.
"We are not to chase people that make a living on the land because our intention is to make sure our people are given land to make a living.
"Those that are there now utilising the land are to be affirmed without any failure. No one is to be chased away. If that happens, I would be happy to be the one that intervenes," Mabuza said.
He was responding during an oral question in the National Assembly to a question from EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu.
Shivambu asked if Mabuza had been informed that some of the land that was being advertised for state disposal to emerging farmers was already occupied and used by communities and some emerging farmers.
He also asked the rationale for conducting the land inquiry as announced by Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza earlier this month.
Mabuza said that the inter-ministerial committee on land reform has been appraised about the status of land that has been advertised to emerging farmers.
"Some of this land is already occupied. Some is used by farmers, local communities and in some instances land is occupied illegally."
He said there would now be records of the farms or land occupied, how that had come about and what activities were undertaken on the state-owned land.
He also said the inquiry would also address the rights of farm dwellers and others as well as ensuring proper procedures for the formalisation and regularisation of those already occupying the land.
However, Shivambu said the land advertised is mainly in the former homelands and did not include the Western Cape and Gauteng.
Mabuza agreed the advertised land was mainly in the former homelands.
"There are some pieces of land that have been advertised that were in former white areas. The majority of land, yes, is in former homelands."
He said the exercise was to identify pieces of land that were in the hands of the government at this stage.
Responding to another question, Mabuza said they would move forward to progressively move forward to restore land to people and give them title deeds.
"In the near future, very soon, we are to announce pieces of land that were claimed by the people that are in the hands of the government and agreed to release the land free of charge," he said.
Asked if there would be no ceilings on how many pieces of land or farms people could own, Mabuza said there was no such a policy other than development of a donation policy.
He said the policy was published and the cabinet would soon make a decision.
Mabuza told of white farmers and mining companies that were willing to donate unused lands.
"That attitude of donating land is the right thing to do. It happens in good spirit to build South Africa," he said.