The Direct Democracy Forum’s (DDF’s) perception of the land reform process is that while the legal structures exist to support the successful implementation of land reform, government seems to lack the will to implement adequate reform and seems unwilling to allocate adequate funds to implement that reform.
The DDF believe that original failed transfer schemes stem from inadequate support for recipients of transfered land. These failures have fueled further reluctance by government to adequately support land reform. So government appears almost to have stepped back from their responsibilities to await the passage of time or change in law or social temperament to provide solutions. The sorts of changes range from barely constitutional changes in the law to flatly illegal suggestions of Zim style land grabs without compensation.
The DDF view these failures on the part of government to be an affront to the rule of law and an insult to all of South African’s citizens, particularly those who are demonised in order to explain government’s failures.
The DDF will quickly resolve these issues by:
- Mandating a 24 month period in which to settle all land claims.
- Provide the judicial resources to ensure that happens.
- Engage with present land owners of land identified for land reform transfers and ensure that they are willing and able to cooperate in the process without any loss to themselves.
- Support the recipients of land reform processes by:
- Providing adequate mentoring through provision of extensive agricultural extension programs.
- Providing structures and finance that enables transfer of ownership and the working of the land.
- Encouraging ongoing participation of existing landowners in the future of the transfered lands through mentoring programs and various forms of extended ownership (viz cooperatives, equity sharing programs and leasebacks) in order to facilitate transfer of skills and ongoing productivity.
- Insisting on lease-backs where owners do not have the necessary skills to successfully farm the lands.
- Supporting agricultural education at agricultural schools, colleges and universities.
- Provide the infrastructure required to farm the land and market the produce.
- Prohibit recipients and indeed, current land-owners alike, from not working viable agricultural land.
- Particularly the DDF do not believe it is necessary to tamper with the constitution in order to solve the land issues in South Africa. Any attempt to give institutional power to government to expropriate land (property) without market related compensation will be creating a thin edge of a wedge which has been applied throughout mankind’s history by autocratic states, to remove property from property owners in due course, usually for the benefit of the powers that be. That cannot ever be tolerated in a free-market style democracy, as South Africa should hold itself to be. Private ownership of property which has been acquired legally through due course should be sacrosanct.
The DDF will not make any promises regarding proportions of available land that will be transferred under the reform process other than to say that they will have the political will and the support of all the stakeholders and the financial resources to resolve this issue and to make a significant difference to the land reform process by applying a “willing seller, willing buyer policy”.
Links: Land Redistribution in SA Lyne and Darroch 2003 Land Reform in SA Lahiff 2008 Land Redistribution SANGONet Pulse 2010 Land Distruibution in SA – Progress Lahiff 2010 Livelihoods after land reform Cousins 2013