Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
9 January 2020
A draft policy that seeks to ensure equitable access to land for all previously disadvantaged citizens has been published for comment.
Published in Government Gazette 42939, the Draft Beneficiary Selection and Land Allocation Policy also aims to address diverse or different land needs for agricultural production, human settlements, commonage, residential and industrial development purposes.
Other policy proposals include promoting industrialization and change of spatial development with the focus towards township economy, special economic zones, and industries in rural areas; promoting urban agriculture via access to agricultural development plots or allotments; creating a credible and transparent system of land allocation and beneficiary selection; targeting the rural poor, landless, poor municipalities and peri-urban residents to gain access to land; developing young black smallholder/commercial farmers and setting up an independent selection panel for land allocation.
Policy principles include equitable access to land; online application system and national application register; land allocation and selection panel; addressing diverse land needs; commercialization of black farmers; focus on poor rural residents and municipalities and needs assessment and skills audit.
One of the policy objectives is to “rekindle the class of Black commercial producers who were destroyed by the 1913 Land Act”.
The draft policy also seeks to provide for a standardized national land application system to ensure a fair and transparent process of beneficiary selection and the rationing of resources.
The draft policy points out that, despite various land reform policy efforts initiated in the post-1994 period, the “inequity of land ownership has been left relatively intact”.
“This can largely be attributed to major challenges of land reform, foremost of which are the slow pace of land redistribution and tenure reform (in which the supply of land for farming and other purposes is still not met in areas where demand is greatest) and the overall failure of land reform farms to sustain production as well as backlogs of land for housing in specified localities which could improve livelihoods”.
The Final Report of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture declared that the selection of beneficiaries, and what they are eligible to get, is of central importance.
“There is a need to specify policy on who is to be prioritised, who is not, how scarce resources are rationed and spread across competing needs, and how beneficiary selection from a pool of applicants is decided.”
The draft policy focuses on, inter alia, categories of beneficiaries for land allocation; eligibility criteria – who qualifies; beneficiary selection criteria; application process for leasing land; institutional arrangements for land allocation and termination and reallocation.
Comment is invited within 60 calendar days of the date of publication.