Ismail Obaray, MPL:
DA supports Land reform that achieves redress in rural communities
I have submitted parliamentary questions to the MEC for Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural development Mr. Norman Shushu to ascertain exactly how the recently established District Land Committees will function and their terms of reference.
The department announced recently the establishment of DLCs in the province’s five districts.
While we welcome this process to give land to previously disadvantaged communities, it is imperative to scrutinize the terms of reference of these committees and understand clearly their scope of operation in order to avoid any conflict of interest and irregularities that may occur.
Furthermore I want to ascertain from the MEC the funding mechanism that the department has put in place to resource the DLCs to achieve its objectives.
The DA supports land reform processes that achieve redress in rural communities, that promotes economic inclusion to lift rural people out of poverty, and supports growth and prosperity in the agricultural sector.
As land is directly related to food production and food security, programmes that affect land ownership and land use must prioritise the need to ensure the continued supply of food at prices that are affordable to ordinary South Africans.
Progress in achieving equitable land ownership has been very slow and the ANC government’s land reform approach has not been successful in establishing an emerging class of commercial farmers.
Our land reform strategy must be informed not by the need to achieve quantitative land targets, but by the objectives to (i) support a thriving commercial agricultural sector that can protect South Africa’s food security, (ii) promote emerging small-scale farmers where economically viable, and (iii) alleviate poverty and support household food security through appropriate assistance for subsistence agriculture.
The success of land reform should therefore be determined in terms of the livelihoods created or supported and economic value created, rather than the hectares of land transferred.