DA-led Western Cape Best Performer in Land Reform for a reason

By Beverley Schäfer MPP, DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture:

The Western Cape is the best performing Province in Land Reform as confirmed by the Deputy Minister of Land Reform, Mcebisi Skwatsha. The DA welcomes this admission by the Ministry of Rural Development and Land Reform, but it is disingenuous to say that our remark on land reform is misleading. We do not need cheap politicking on an issue at the heart of redressing the injustices of the past. Land reform requires government to take co-operative governance seriously, and we should learn from our successes and replicate them across the country.

I therefore invite the Deputy Minister to engage with Standing Committee on Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, so that we can discuss how the rest of the country can replicate the successes of the Western Cape.

Deputy Minister Skwatsha’s own statistics shows why the Western Cape is the best performer in all parts of land reform, with a national failure rate of 92% of land reform projects compared to 62% success rate in the Western Cape. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform did not help the Western Cape to achieve this success when they attacked our successful share equity model and recently placed a moratorium on it.

On a national level, there seems to be policy and legislative confusion which is hampering successful implementation of land reform. One example would be the proposed land caps, as described in the Regulations of Land Holding Bill 2015, which, if implemented, will see large commercial farms over a certain size being divided and the surplus land made available for land reform. The Preservation on Development on Agricultural Land Bill from 2015 states that high potential agricultural land cannot be subdivided. The Ministry of Rural Development and Land Reform therefore completely contradicts itself in two different bills released the same year.

The Western Cape Government has by far the highest success rate in all three components to land reform: redistribution, tenure reform and restitution. While national government plays a key role in land reform, so too does Provincial and Local Government. Land reform requires support from all three layers of government.

We ask the Ministry of Rural Development and Land Reform, why land reform is succeeding in the Western Cape but not in other parts of the country? The answer is simply innovative solutions, and an active commitment to cooperative governance beyond narrow ideological frames.