‘Land ownership limit applies to everyone’

Gugile Nkwinti says the plan to limit ownership of farmland to 12,000 hectares will apply to everyone.

FILE: Ownership of farmland is limited to 12,000 hectares per person. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA.

CAPE TOWN - Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti says government's plan to limit ownership of farmland to 12,000 hectares will apply to South Africans as well as foreign nationals.

Nkwinti says the policy in this regard will be finalised by the end of March.

He adds that details of all agricultural land-holdings above the threshold will be entered into a database.

Owners will be able to negotiate the sale of surplus hectares to the government.

However, Nkwinti says foreign nationals will not be allowed to own farmland, but will be able to enter into long-term leases with the government.

"So the 12,000 hecters limited extent will also apply to foreign nationals, for everybody owning land in South Africa. In terms of that extent it will hold for all of them."

Last week, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Bheki Cele said land would be shared out between farmworkers working on the land, but would be restricted to 12,000 hectares per person.

He said while the freedom charter says any person may own the land they work and the new Land Holdings Bill would change this.

"The 12,000 hectares ceiling is meant to cover all producers."