South Africa to 'miss land reform deadline'

Mark mark at
Wed Nov 4 13:51:28 GMT 2009

Sounds a bit like following the Zimbabwe experience this.

SA 'to miss land reform deadline'
BBC News Online
Wednesday, 4 November 2009

South Africa will miss a 2014 deadline to redistribute a third of the
country's farmland from white farmers to the black majority, officials

Thozi Gwanya, from the land reform department, told the BBC the deadline
had been pushed back to 2025 because of a lack of funds.

He said more than $9.6bn (£5.8bn) was needed to buy the remaining land.

So far more than five million hectares have been distributed and about 20
million hectares remain to be bought.

At the end of apartheid in 1994 almost 90% of land was owned by the white
community, who made up less than 10% of the population.

'Social time bomb'

Mr Gwanya said South Africa's constitution stipulated that land had to be
bought from the current landowners, but the current economic crisis meant
the government had to postpone its plans.

He ruled out seizing land in order to fast-track the process.

"It has never been our programme to just seize land," he told the BBC's
Network Africa programme.

"Appropriation will be used in the event that there is no co-operation by
the current landowners, so far we have got a very positive support from
most of the white farmers."

But the Confederation of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said land
redistribution was one of the main demands of the liberation struggle and
rich taxpayers should pay more to meet the deadline.

"An entire generation would have passed before we see this being
implemented and that isn't good enough," Cosatu's spokesman Patrick Craven
told the BBC.

"We're sitting on a social time bomb," he said, adding that the recent
township demonstrations over poor services were a warning.

"Those are linked to the land question. The fact that people are forced to
move into cities to squatter camps... creates those kind of tensions.

"It would be far far better if they could make a living in the rural areas
- the main reason they can't is the skewed land ownership pattern which
still exists in rural areas."

Land reform is a sensitive issue in South Africa and has been brought into
sharp focus by the decline of agriculture in neighbouring Zimbabwe, where
many white commercial farmers have been violently evicted.

Earlier this year, the government warned that it would take over any
allocated land that was not being used effectively.

While last month, farmers' union Agri SA signed a deal to lease 200,000
hectares of land in the Republic of Congo as it said the government's land
policy was forcing white farmers to seek land abroad.

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