The department of Rural Development and Land Reform issued a policy for public comment in the Government Gazette on January 3 which provides a credible and transparent process for land allocation and beneficiary selection. Moreover, the policy required the reintroduction of race classification measures to decide who would be eligible to receive land from the state.
Minority rights organization AfriForum said it supported the initiative to help the poor and vulnerable to gain access to land but it has to be nonracial. “The policy proposed by the department excluded beneficiaries on the basis of race. Beneficiaries should have the requisite skills needed to run a farm and they should be given full title to the land,” said AfriForum.
The organization also highlighted that the policy perpetuated state control over land instead of ensuring that beneficiaries became the true owners of land by receiving title deeds. According to AfriForum “The government spent more than R1.4bn buying farms in the Eastern Cape to redistribute to aspirant farmers. Of the 265 farms purchased, only 26 remain viable,” said AfriForum. It said in 90% of those cases, once thriving farms that produced food and employed people were now in ruins.