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Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture Releases Final Report

July 29, 2019

Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

29 July 2019

The Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture’s Final Report is a “crucial resource which will contribute to land reform, spatial transformation and agricultural development policy formulation”.

The agriculture, land reform and rural development minister, Thoko Didiza, declared this during a media briefing on the release of the Final Report.

Cabinet approved the Final Report last week.

The minister added that the Panel hopes that the “recommendations contained in the report will contribute positively to expedite and sustainably deliver land reform objectives as directed by the Constitution”.

The Advisory Panel was set up in September 2018 to support the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Land Reform.

In an earlier statement, the presidency indicated that the Panel will “advise the IMC on a broad range of policy matters associated with land reform, including restitution, redistribution, tenure security and agricultural support”.

According to a statement, the report provides recommendations for immediate action.

“These include immediate allocation of allocated land, building on and refocusing private partnerships, and strengthening of food systems and rural-urban linkages.”

The report also calls for a Consolidated National Land Reform Policy Framework with a new White Paper that addresses current gaps to include urban land, address spatial transformation and climate change.

Land administration should also be added to the Framework in order to strengthen Land Restitution, Redistribution and Tenure.

Some of the recommendations include speeding up and refocusing land reform to address inequality and historical injustices; amending Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for expropriation of land in limited circumstances to be set out in an Expropriation Bill and outlined in a Compensation Policy; a proactive, targeted area-based approach for land redistribution with land identification and acquisition occurring at municipal level; the envisaged White Paper to specify the range of land acquisition methods to be pursued for land identified as required for land redistribution or restitution in the following sequence: (a) calls for land donation, (b) negotiated acquisition, (c) expropriation; the drawing up of a Donations Policy to incentivize donating property; the setting up of a Land Reform Fund combining state and private finance to support land reform; reform of the Land Claims Court to be renamed the Land Court; setting up the office of a Land Rights Protector to investigate corruption in the acquisition, allocation and transactions of land; the drafting of a Land Records Bill enabling the majority of citizens, who hold property ‘off-register’, to record and register their property and the extending of land reform to urban areas including an Urban Land Reform Policy.

Cabinet has instructed ministers to study the report and report back to cabinet in two months.