(Questions to Deputy President in NCOP)
The focus of South Africa's land reform programme is shifting from pro-poor to "pro-elite" and the Deputy President, David Mabuza, was unable to explain what the government is doing to try and prevent this.
During question-time to the Deputy President in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), the FF Plus asked what the government is going to do to ensure food security after the land reform ideals have been achieved and also what measures the government will implement to make sure that the land is not hijacked by the political elite.
The questions were evaded by referring to what the government is doing to help empower young, emerging and female farmers.
This is in spite of the fact that research recently conducted by the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies found that land reform has become a way to preserve the wealth of a select few as 44% of the beneficiaries are 'urban businessmen, taxi or other transport operators, former state bureaucrats and local politicians with access to material resources, knowledge and information'.
According to the research, these individuals' economic and political influence enabled them to diversify through agriculture. The data collected on 66 land reform projects from across the country indicated that the reform programme has shifted from being pro-poor to being pro-elite.
Only 18% of the 66 farms that the Institute studied were allocated to farm workers and many of them faced various great challenges in achieving success. Many of the beneficiaries later gave up on the unsuccessful farming activities and sought work elsewhere.
Thus, the majority of those who received land abandoned production due to a number of restrictions on their farms, like a lack of production support, poor infrastructure and dilapidated homesteads.
Mabuza's claim that support programmes for emerging farmers are being expanded is nothing but a fairy-tale.
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