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Wide-ranging reforms needed to fast-track land reform, says advisory panel

That’s just one recommendation made by the panel which was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa last year to assist the inter-ministerial committee on land reform.

FILE: A panel was appointed in September 2018 to support the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) on land reform chaired by the Deputy President David Mabuza, to advise the IMC on policy matters associated with land reform, including restitution, redistribution, tenure security & agricultural support. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The land reform advisory panel on Sunday said wide-ranging institutional reforms were needed to fast-track land reform.

That’s just one recommendation made by the panel which was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa last year to assist the inter-ministerial committee on land reform.

Its final report was officially tabled and opened to public scrutiny and said the government needed a minimum of R240 billion to acquire and transfer about 30% of available land.

Among some of the recommendations by the panel was that a land reform fund should be established where the private sector and government could make contributions to support the land reform project.

Panel chairperson Vuyo Mahlati said they consulted extensively on the subject.

“From the responses that we got from consultation, we basically understood that what South Africa requires is clarity as far as policy is concerned. And secondly, what South Africa requires is a commitment by government, in particular, of the fact that land grabs are not going to be the order of the day,” Mahlati said.

One of the panel members, Wandile Sihlobo, said the project would be very costly and government alone could not afford it.

The panel believed that implementation of the land reform programmes would restore human dignity and social justice by securing tenure in rural and urban areas.

The panel also said land expropriation without compensation could be applied in certain instances where land had been found to be unutilised, underutilised, or where it had been obtained through equity schemes, but failed.

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