Speech by Barbara Thompson during the debate on the Provision of Land & Assistance Amendment Bill
22 September 2008
The Provision of Land and Assistance Bill amends the Provision of Land and Assistance Act of 1993. The aim of the Amendment is to facilitate sustainable land reform.
Inhloso yalesichibiyeli ukunika umphathiswa amandla okulekelela labo abafanelekile ukuba bakwazi ukuthola usizo lokuthengelwa lokhu esikubiza kokuthi I movable and immovable property ngenhloso yokuqinisa intuthuko, nokuqeda ubuhlwempu kubantu bakithi.
The Provision of Land and Assistance Amendment Bill, entailed repealing the original Act that had allowed the Department to buy land, but not assets and equipment as desired by the sellers of the land. Umphathiswa simugixabeza ngamandla okuthenga izinsiza zepulazi ngesicelo salowo obe ngumnikazi pulazi. Lendlela yokuthenga izolekelela ekuqiniseni lokhu esikubiza nge land reform programme, ngoba umdayisi akazukukhahlanyezwa ukusala nezinsiza msebenzi umhlaba esewuthengisile.
NgolimilukaGeorge yilokhu esikubiza ngokuthi”yigoing concern” kafushane ibusiness elisebenzayo. Loku phela
kusho ukuthi umthengi omusha okwakhe ukungena emsebenzini aqhubeke nomkhiqizo ngoba izinsiza zizobe zikhona zilungele ukusetshenziswa.
Members of the Portfolio Committee unanimously supports this provision as it will make it possible for the Department not to just buy land but also the assets and equipment that would make land reform projects more viable. However the committee rejected the proposal to make legislation retrospective, which then means that whatever assets and equipment that has been bought by the Minister outside the mandate of the principle Act should be validated by the Bill. By accepting validation of anything to have been done or purporting to have been done under the principal Act the committee believed it would be signing a black cheque without knowing what assets have been bought by the Minister and for what purpose. Cha i committee impela isichithile lesisicelo somyango. The committee requested the Department to report to the Auditor General all illegal land and property transactions that had taken place contrary to the provisions of the existing legislation. In addition, scopa should call the department to report all the transactions that have taken place if any.
Kubalulekile ukuthi I Palamende lilandele ukusebenza kwemisebenzi yohlelo lwezemihlaba. Ikakhulukazi ukuthengwa kwalezifizi nqgalazizinda. Kufanele siqiniseke ukuthi wonke lomnotho uhlala ezandleni eziyizo futhi ezifanele, labo phela abahlomuli bomhlaba (land beneficiaries).
The committee therefore need to be provided with adequate resources to periodically monitor property acquired by the Department for land beneficiaries.
Kunqabe umnyango unawo amandla okuwenza lomthetho usebenze? It will need expertise in business management or in running farms to manage the farms acquired while beneficiaries are not yet identified or are not ready to take over farms. This could be a costly exercise to the state if property was damaged, vandalised or abused during this period. We therefore suggest that property acquired by the state should not sit in its hands, but should be passed on and in good condition, to the ultimate beneficiaries and that the should be provision that it be properly cared for pending the final transfer.
The issue of capacity is very critical considering the fact that the Department had been continuously cretisiced over its lack of capacity to meet land reform targets. If the Department was effectively resourced, it would be able to enter the marked and acquire the necessary skills to attain this capacity.
In the memorandum of the Bill it is stated that there will be no financial implications. The explanation given is that the implementation of the Bill will be accommodated within the current budget of the Department in terms of the medium term strategic and operational budget. This is understood but what one fails to understand is that the Department is already complaining about high prices of land that are squeezing its budget, buying assets and equipment means that the Department will have to spend more on acquiring land. According to the director general Mr Thozi Gwanya the department has already approached the National Treasury for further finding.
Relevant here is whether the grants that are made available to land beneficiaries are adequate to cover the full cost of procurement of property including movable and immovable assets. At the moment grants only covers a fraction of the cost of property and farmers have to take out loans in order to finance their agricultural activities. This squeezes them even more. Grants are not adequate for one individual the (grant is about R111 000 per individual), to buy land as a result the number of recipients qualifying for the grant and pooling their money to buy as a group. This grouping has always proved to be a recipe for economic disaster. Management problems are also likely to arise.
Analysis of projects that have failed or are on the verge of falling point to the urgent need to review the quality of support given to the land reform beneficiaries. It shows that singular emphasis on land acquisition and redistribution at the expense of equal (or even more) efforts on post settlement support provision can undo all the good work done towards achieving land reform objectives. This has influenced policy shift within the Department part of the new approach is a revised legislative framework contained in the Provision of Land and Assistance Amendment Bill that would give the Minister powers to acquire farms, land and shares in agricultural compensation on behalf of black people. This includes provisions for post care issues such as capacity.