Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe says government has made tangible progress in land reform since the advent of democracy.
Chairing a briefing on Thursday, following Cabinet’s regular meeting, Minister Radebe said 54 400 hectares (ha) of strategically located land was acquired and allocated, and 51 188 ha were allocated to smallholder producers.
Despite this, Minister Radebe said more needs to be done to ensure that the vision of vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities becomes a reality.
About 6 530 ha of the acquired land was allocated to farm dwellers and labour tenants. Of the 112 land claims that were settled, 57 were in rural areas, benefiting 2 553 people in 467 households.
The Chief Land Claims Commissioner also approved the phase two submission for the settlement of the Masinenge community land claim and the Mtshali family claim through the payment of financial compensation.
The total value of the Masinenge settlement is R7.1 million for the benefit of 64 households, who were verified as victims of land dispossession.
“The Commission on Restitution of Land Rights has, during the period 1 April 2016 to 31 October 2016, paid out close to a billion rand in compensation to land claimants, who were dispossessed of their rights in land,” Minister Radebe said.
As part of efforts toward healing the psychological wounds of forced removal and dispossession of land, government re-opened the land claims process from July 2015 until 2019.
Government hopes this will help to address some of the challenges identified by the National Development Plan (NDP). The NDP notes that land reform has not yet translated into the establishment of sufficient numbers of sustainable new black farmers and restitution, in particular, has been quite slow.
Rural economy taking shape
Another development noted by Cabinet in the agricultural sector was the 172 new agricultural enterprises and 23 non-agricultural enterprises that were supported through various initiatives.
An additional 337 existing SMMEs were identified and will be supported with training and market access.
Cabinet also noted the graduation of young people from the four-year National Rural Youth Corps (NARYSEC) programme, saying it complements government’s job creation programmes and initiatives.
The programme, which was launched in 2010, is a youth skills development and employment programme that helps to transform young people in the rural areas from being job seekers to creators of jobs.
The work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Investment is also starting to bear fruit, Minister Radebe said.
“During the quarter under review, Invest SA facilitated an investment pipeline amounting to R18.2 billion, mostly in large scale gas to power projects.”
Cabinet also noted some highlights of the quarterly outcomes progress report, which include the support of 149 enterprises by the Department of Small Business Development in the quarter under review.
In addition, 104 cooperatives were supported through the Co-operative Incentive Scheme. These interventions are unlocking the potential of SMMEs, cooperatives, township and rural enterprises.
Courtesy of SAnews.gov.za