Wandile Sihlobo, Fin24, 5 October 2020
The growth of South Africa’s agricultural fortunes and job creation will, in part, depend on the expansion of agricultural activities in the underutilised former homelands regions and farms that government acquired through the land reform process. Hence, this past week’s announcement by the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Ms Thoko Didiza, that government would be availing 700 000 hectares of agricultural land is broadly positive.
The government promises efficiency in availing the land to potential beneficiaries. The selection process, which will be through three broad structures – district, provincial and national – could take approximately two months. So far, it is unclear what criteria will the selection committees follow as no final version of the Beneficiary Selection and Land Allocation Policy has been published since the draft was Gazetted early this year.
One hopes that the foundations of that policy have been retained as robust and transparent criteria is critical to bring confidence that there aren’t any corrupt activities in the process. This is an important area which was also emphasised in the Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture.