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Advisory Panel on Land Reform Recommendations Under the Spotlight

January 7, 2020

Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

7 January 2020

A recommendation by the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture that land reform must be informed by an agreed vision for agrarian reform was not supported by cabinet.

The agriculture, land reform and rural development minister, Thoko Didiza, revealed this during a media briefing in December 2019 on Panel recommendations not supported by cabinet.

According to the minister, government holds the view that the current White Paper on Land Policy of 1997 is still adequate in its application in that it covers a broad land administration framework, creates the framework for tenure reform policy and acknowledges that land reform does not only deal with agrarian reform.

In contrast, government calls for an agricultural vision that supports agrarian reform.

As regards proposed measures to unlock urban state land for affordable housing and the creation of more inclusive towns and cities, the recommendation was broadly supported but the challenge lies with respect to certain mechanisms that are being proposed as interventions.

In terms of a proposed “review of the Office of the Valuer-General and its function in-line with the Property Valuations Act to ensure that the compensation determined in the event of expropriation for land reform purposes is just and equitable, and not purely market value based”, the minister pointed out that the parliamentary process on the amendment of Section 25 is engaged with the determination of what is just and equitable.

Other positions held by government include that the expanded mandate of the Land Courts Bill can facilitate the setting up of a National Land Rights Protector for managing conflict over land, no need for a Land Reform Fund at this stage and that recommendations over the establishment of a Land and Agrarian Reform Agency will be addressed by the new configuration of the department.

The minister confirmed that almost all the recommendations of the panel were accepted by cabinet.

Meanwhile, in Gazette 42915, the National Agricultural Marketing Council called for comment on the application by the Cape Flora/Fynbos Industry (CFSA) for the continuation of statutory measures on fynbos products exported.

According to the invitation, the current statutory measures on fynbos expires on 30 April 2020.

CFSA seeks a new 4-year period with effect from 1 May 2020 and to lapse 4 years later on levies, registration and records and returns.

Comment is invited until 10 January 2020.