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Independent land audit dispels the myth that whites own 80% of the land

An independent audit of landownership in South Africa, which has just been completed, dispels the populist myth that whites own eighty percent of the land, says Dr Pieter Groenewald, leader of the FF Plus.

The audit and analysis of landownership were conducted by Agri Development Solutions (ADS) in cooperation with Landbouweekblad, Landbou.com and Agri SA with the aim of shedding light on the issue of landownership from 1994 to 2016 by using data from the national deeds office.

According to Dr Groenewald, the most significant finding is that commercial agricultural land (excluding the homelands) owned by white farmers decreased from 67% of the total surface area of South Africa in 1993 to 55% in 2016.

By last year, people of colour owned nearly a third of the agricultural land value in the country and almost half of all the high-potential agricultural land (46,5%).

In 1994, whites owned 85,1% of all the agricultural land. By 2016, it had decreased to 73,3%, while people of colour now own 26,7%. The 26,7%, however, includes nearly half of the country’s best, i.e. high-potential, agricultural land.

In Kwazulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo, more than 50% of the land value belongs to people of colour.

According to Dr Groenewald, a worrisome finding of the audit is that thus far the government mainly used land, which was already in its possession in 1994, for land reform purposes.

“I am currently eagerly awaiting the Minister’s report on the official national audit as it would be interesting to compare the two. The government had undertaken to make the report available to me by yesterday (Tuesday) already.

“What makes this audit especially valuable is the fact that we can compare it to the government’s so as to ensure that the true facts regarding landownership are laid on the table,” says Dr Groenewald.

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