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Harsh reality of land reform indicates that Ramaphosa should rather focus on the transfer of state-owned land and the development of black farmers

The fact that thus far land claimants have, almost without exception, only been interested in money rather than land has resulted in the state taking possession of nearly all the land that has been obtained since 1994 as part of the land reform process, says Dr Pieter Groenewald, leader of the FF Plus.

According to Dr Groenewald, the real question is why the land that is already in the state’s possession cannot henceforth be used for the land reform process seeing as that would make the consideration of land expropriation without compensation, as is envisaged by the leader of the ANC Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, superfluous.

Dr Groenewald says that he appreciates Mr Ramaphosa’s admission (Fin24, 15-01-2018) that “most of the redistributed land is lying derelict at the moment … It’s not being worked”. Dr Groenewald adds that this is one of the greatest problem areas with regard to land reform and Mr Ramaphosa and the government should rather focus more on that.

The answers to parliamentary questions posed by Dr Groenewald indicate that only 1% of the land that the government obtained by means of land reform has been legally transferred to land claimants.

In 93% of all the successful claims, the claimants preferred money and not land. That means that the entire process has therefore cost nearly double what it was supposed to cost seeing as the landowner had to be paid and then the land claimant was paid as well. So in effect, the government has become the owner of the land.

Of the 7% percent of claimants that preferred land, 90% failed entirely. Only one out of ten commercial farms, that were obtained through land reform, is still in operation and only with varying degrees of success. Many of these farms had to be saved from total ruin at great cost by means of recapitalisation.

Dr Groenewald says that the facts clearly show that the ANC is merely using harmful rhetoric on land reform to mislead the masses for its own political gain.

“The FF Plus would like to enquire from the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform exactly how much land the state has obtained since 1994 by means of the land reform process, what that land has been used for and what the state plans to do with it in the future.

“We will officially put these questions to the Minister in parliament,” says Dr Groenewald.

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