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DALRRD Shines Light on Women in Agriculture

September 3, 2020

Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

Government plans to release state land with 50% of recipients being women.

The agriculture, land reform and rural development minister, Thoko Didiza, confirmed this during a Webinar on Women in Agriculture during Women’s Month.

Other steps to be taken to address challenges faced by women in the agricultural sector include training for beneficiaries, effective land reform by supporting land beneficiaries, developing a targeted program for women farmers and entrepreneurs and 40% procurement for women businesses.

The agriculture, land reform and rural development department also plans to develop a database of women organizations engaged in agriculture as well as agribusiness, hold round table quarterly meetings with the minister and women producers in order to look at how challenges can be unblocked and setting up a women focal point whose task will be to look at policy and programs as well as work with the sector.

Meanwhile, the department recently briefed parliament on public comments received on the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Amendment Bill.

The bill, designed to provide for the application for conversion of land tenure rights to ownership, was tabled in parliament in May 2020.

The bill’s explanatory summary was published in February 2020.

The bill aims to amend the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act, 1991, so as to:

• provide for the application for conversion of land tenure rights to ownership;
• provide for the notice of informing interested persons of an application to convert land tenure rights into ownership;
• provide for an opportunity for interested persons to object to conversion of land tenure rights into ownership;
• provide for the institution of inquiries to assist in the determination of land tenure rights;
• provide for application to court by an aggrieved person for appropriate relief;
• provide for the recognition of conversions that took effect in good faith in the past; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

Last year, parliament called on the agriculture, land reform and rural development department to initiate work on the bill.

The Constitutional Court ruled on 30 October 2018 that section 2(1) of the 1991 Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act is constitutionally invalid as it discriminates against women.

The section deals with the conversion of land tenure rights into ownership.

The act provides for the upgrading and conversion into ownership of certain rights granted in respect of land.

The department briefed parliament on the bill in July 2020 and hearings on the bill were held in August.

The department pointed out that many comments received focused on communal land.

The department holds the view that the reason for the emphasis on communal land is that there is a serious dearth of communal land legislation and that communal land is still governed by pre-1994 legislation.

The department added that a Draft Communal Land Tenure Bill will comprehensively deal with communal land.