Government To Tackle Land Reform

By Kemantha Govender

Durban - Government has set out to find new ways to deal with some of the difficulties it faces in its land reform programme. It has taken a grassroots level approach, which it hopes will uncover deeper issues and be the catalyst for innovative solutions.

"We are all aware that land reform has not always produced the intended results ... it is therefore imperative that we find more pragmatic solutions for land reform," said Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti.

He met with people from all over KwaZulu-Natal to iron out issues around government's land reform programme. The meeting, held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre, was also attended by Premier Zweli Mkhize and MEC for Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development, Lydia Johnson.

Traditional leaders, municipal heads and labour tenants were given an opportunity to highlight their challenges and also come up with proposed solutions.

Nkwinti said one such solution was the Recapitalisation and Development Programme, which seeks to guarantee food security, create employment opportunities and graduate small scale farmers into commercial farmers.

However, government identified problem areas with finalised land claims.

"Challenges relating to the legal entities, such as Communal Property Institutions and Trusts, which have been entrusted with custodian of the land on behalf of communities, are contributory factors in the poor management of projects handed over to restitution beneficiaries," said Nkwinti.

Those who have received land through the land reform programme have not received adequate support in terms of training and development.

Tension between the Amakhosi and legal entities with custodianship and disputes regarding boundaries on claimed land also stalled the progress on a number of projects handed over to communities.

"Most of the conflict between Amakhosi and legal entities relate to the issue of control and custodianship of the land. It remains a challenge in many communities to find a common ground between the parties," said Nkwinti.

The unavailability of title deeds for portions of land also still presents a problem.

Nkwinti will be holding similar meetings in other provinces to tackle the challenges on a countrywide scale.

- BuaNews