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DRDLR Shines Light on Envisaged Land Commission

May 25, 2017

Department of Rural Development and Land Reform

The Land Commission provided for in the Draft Regulation of Agricultural Land Holdings Bill will enforce the disclosure of ownership of land and landed property.

The rural development and land reform minister, Gugile Nkwinti, emphasised this while delivering his department’s budget vote speech in parliament.

Comment on the draft bill was recently extended to 60 days of the date of publication of the original notice published in March 2017.

The Draft Regulation of Agricultural Land Holdings Bill also seeks to:

• provide for the composition, appointment, qualification and remuneration of members of the Land Commission;
• provide for the functions and powers of the Land Commission;
• provide for the delegation of powers by the Minister and the Land Commission;
• provide for the establishment and maintenance of a register of public and private agricultural land holdings;
• provide for the declaration of present ownership and acquisition of private agricultural land;
• provide for the submission of information on public agricultural land;
• provide for prohibition on the acquisition of agricultural land by a foreign person;
• provide for and regulation of lease by foreign persons;
• provide for the determination of ceilings in respect of agricultural land;
• provide for redistribution of agricultural land;
• provide for investigations by the Land Commission;
• provide for the appointment and responsibilities of the chief operations officer;
• provide for funds for the Land Commission;
• provide for auditing of the financial statements and records of the Land Commission;
• provide for a certificate to be received as evidence;
• provide for searches;
• provide for manuals and guidelines;
• limit the liability of the Land Commission and its employees in respect of acts done in good faith under this Act;
• provide for the exemption from liability;
• provide for the forfeiture of unlawfully acquired land;
• provide for offences and penalties;
• provide for regulations; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

Meanwhile, the deputy minister, Mcebisi Skwatsha, in his speech, announced that the department has also established Labour Tenants/Farm-dweller Forums at national, province and district level as a prelude to the proposed Land Rights Management Committees envisaged in the Extension of Security of Tenure Amendment Bill which is still being processed.

The deputy minister also referred to the Communal Property Associations Amendment Bill recently tabled in parliament.

The proposed legislation seeks to amend the Communal Property Associations Act in order to, inter alia, extend the application of the act to labour tenants who acquired land, set up a Communal Property Associations Office and facilitate the appointment of a Registrar of Communal Property Associations, provide for general plans for land administered by an association, provide improved protection of the rights of communities in respect of movable and immovable property administered by an association and provide for name changes of associations.

He declared that the department will ensure that 256 Communal Property Associations are supported in the current financial year to be compliant with the legislation.