Speech by David Dlali during the debate on the Provision of Land & Assistance Amendment Bill

22 September 2008

Speaker/ Deputy Speaker
Hon. Members

The Amendment bill before this Parliament / Chamber today is one of the Pieces of Legislation that is critical to the ANC’s revolutionalisation of Land reform, the Land issues is one of the most important part of our struggle, without land, there is no Nation, no food and dignity whatsoever.

Therefore this agrarian transformation is most important in this regard, people out there wants Land, implements, needs, fertilizer and many others in order for them to work Land.

The white paper on South African Land Policy is very clear that:

  1.  Underutilized farm land  should the expropriated,
  2. There should be restrictions on the size and number of farms that an individual could / should own,
  3. Absentee landlordism needed to be investigated etc.

Therefore on the basis of the above the agrarian revolution is critical to address most of the red typing or to unlock the blockages to address Land reform.

This is an Amendment Bill, which seeks to amend the Provision of Land and Assistance Act of 1993 (the Principal Act). This Act makes provision for the designation of certain land; regulating the subdivision of such land and the settlement of persons thereon; and the rendering of financial assistance for the acquisition of land and to secure tenure rights.

Due to a number of gaps in the Principal Act, it was amended by the Development Facilitation Act 67 of 1995 and later by the Provision of Certain Land for Settlement Amendment Act 26 of 1998. The current amendment therefore takes place within the context of a number of amendments that have taken place in the past in relation to the Principal Act.

As such the current amendment seeks to provide for, clarity and extend the application of the provisions on the acquisition, planning, development, improvement and disposal of property and the provision of financial assistance for land reform purposes; and the maintenance of property for land reform purposes.

The Provision of Land and Assistance Amendment Bill is located within the broad political imperative of ensuring agrarian transformation. The political imperatives of agrarian transformation are a range of fundamental tasks that relate to the restructuring and dislodging the current agrarian accumulation logic, located in the agribusiness paradigm towards a more inclusive agrarian path for self sustenance and ensuring food security.
Agrarian transformation is not simply about the production of agricultural products in order to gather export earnings and accumulate wealth but is largely about sustainable food security, ensuring tenure rights and altering the ownership patterns of agricultural sector. In this context agrarian transformation is also to ensure that policy harmonization between all spheres of government on land ownership and disposal one adhere to. Most importantly the political objective of agrarian transformation is to ensure that agricultural and other policies have a positive impact on household food security, food prices and environmental sustainability.

Central to the African National Congress (ANC) outlook of agrarian transformation is the elaboration of a clear agenda to implement the integrated food security strategy (as adopted by Cabinet in July 2002) and to further develop a sustainable food policy strategy that ensures food security at all times (especially during the times of vulnerability as a consequence of natural disaster, price hikes, etc) and which directly impacts on food prices for the poor, with a specific focus on women, the elderly, people with disabilities and children.

These aspects of an agrarian transformation for South Africa were further emphasized at the 52nd National Conference of the ANC. Challenges to agrarian transformation where rural areas are concerned are the lack of infrastructure which entrenches the problems of chronic poverty and limits the potential of communities to sustain economic growth, rural livelihoods and social development. As such and in essence agrarian transformation is about poverty eradication and ensuring sustainable rural livelihoods.  The current Amendment Bill seeks to facilitate the very essence of land reform as an integral part of the broader agrarian reform.

The Amendment Bill seeks to resolve certain interpretation problems and critical deficiencies in the principal Act especially with regard to ministerial powers to:

  • Acquire movable and immovable property,
  • Acquire economic enterprises,
  • Acquire shares or the right, title or interest in or to juristic persons,
  • Grant financial assistance for the acquisition, planning, development or improvement of various types of property, including economic enterprises are clarified and extended in the process.

The objects of the Bill are to:

  • Give effect to the land and related reform obligations of the State in terms of section 25 of the Constitution.
  • Effect, promote, facilitate or support the maintenance, planning, sustainable use, development and improvement of property contemplated in this Act,
  • Contribute to poverty eradication and
  • Promote economic growth, with regard to the Agricultural Sector.

Content of the Bill

The most important aspect of the Amendment Bill is the insertion of the objects in the Principal Act. These specifically speak to: giving effect to land and related reform obligations of the State in terms of section 25 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa; give effect, promote, facilitate or support the maintenance, planning, sustainable use, development and improvement of property contemplated in this Act; contribute to poverty eradication and promote economic growth.

Another critical area is the provision of property for land reform purposes set out in clauses which substitute section 10 of the Principal Act. Accordingly the clauses that make provision of property for land reform purposes empowers the minister to, acquire immovable property including land; movable property, including incorporeal property; acquire a business or other economic enterprise as a going concern or; shares in or the right, title or interest in or to a juristic person other entity or a trust owning, controlling or administering property.

These clauses also make provision for financial assistance by way of an advance, subsidy, grant or otherwise to any person for the acquisition, maintenance, planning, development or improvement of property. In addition the Amendment Bill also speaks to issues of land expropriation in the context of section 25 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa which states that: property may be expropriated only in terms of law of general application: (a) for a public purpose or in the public interest; and (b) subject to compensation, the amount of which and the time and manner of payment of which have either been agreed to by those affected or decided or approved by a court.

Political Implications/ considerations

This Bill is critical because of the political challenges that the ANC is faced with regarding agrarian reform and changing the current agribusiness accumulation of logic that still remains located in the power relations of the spatial architecture of apartheid social engineering. There is also a social basis for the ANC to be more robust in altering the ownership patterns in the agricultural sector due to a number of problems faced by farm dwellers and the evictions that continue undermine peoples’ basic human rights. This is central to ensuring tenure rights and fast-tracking emerging farmers (small holders) to be central to food production for domestic consumption and food security. Because land is a highly contested terrain by the fact that agriculture and land owners are predominantly white elite, the opposition parties are going to ring alarm bells on this. The social basis for expropriation and provision of land assistance is at the center of meeting the national developmental goals as well as meeting the challenges of poverty in the context of the millennium development goals.  The ANC has a revolutionary obligation to make sure that we do realize this goal. 
I thank you !