Nkwinti: Land a serious national issue

Johannesburg - Private land ownership is a serious problem in South Africa, Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said on Thursday.

"This privately-owned land is a serious problem," he told delegates at the start of a three-day national land tenure summit in Boksburg, on the East Rand.

"There are people who own more than 30 000ha of land in this country, spread across the country or concentrated in one area.

"How do you explain that morally? It is morally indefensible."

The summit, which includes national officials from the department, traditional leaders, and cultural groups, is discussing land reform resolutions made at the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung in 2012.

Delegates are expected to discuss the resolutions before they are sent for implementation.

Nkwinti said the department would use political variables in its decision making if land owners did not propose suggestions based on economic variables.

"We want to correct a particular South African historical problem," he said.

He said the ruling party could not continue asking the public to vote for the African National Congress every five years, when they saw no real change in their lives.

"It cannot be that the worker will work forever and at the end of their time on earth, have nothing to show for it. It is not right, it cannot be right."

He said it was expected that the department would face setbacks in its aim to redistribute land, but it was a short-term challenge to a long-term solution.

"It cannot be that we wait another 100 years."

Privately-owned land

According to a preliminary audit conducted by the department, 79% of South Africa's land was privately-owned. The race and nationality of the owners was not yet clear.

Nkwinti said instruments used to encourage people to declare their land ownership were not yet in place. This would be clearer after the process of land redistribution had begun.

The "use right" of title deeds needed to be legalised so owners could use them as collateral, he said.

"It is happening already, but we want to entrench it into law."

He said loan sharks who took over their clients' homes were breaking the law. It was a growing problem.

He urged traditional leaders in rural areas to help the department by being moral guides in their areas.

He criticised poorly-run municipalities.

"The problem is poor rural municipalities who do not exercise authority over the land to ensure by-laws are abided by."

Government had agreed not to sell any state-owned land, but to rather lease it out.

"We want to make sure we leverage our ownership of that land."

'Use it or lose it'

The African Farmers' Association of SA had proposed that when land was redistributed, the new owners be given government support for five years.

If the land owner failed to make the land profitable and sustainable in that time they would lose it.

Nkwinti asked those present to think about the "use it or lose it" principle and to say whether or not they agreed with it.

"We want proposals from the sector and others. Discuss it because after this summit we will implement."

The land policy document proposes that farm labourers assume ownership of half the land on which they are employed.

This would be "proportional to their contribution to the development of the land, based on the number of years they had worked on the land".

The "historical owner" of the farm "automatically retains" the other half.

According to the policy proposals, tabled by Nkwinti and with a deadline for feedback of April next year, government would pay for the 50 percent to be shared by the labourers.

This money would not be paid to the farm owner, however, but go into an investment and development fund, to be jointly owned by the parties constituting the new ownership regime.

On Thursday, Nkwinti said farmers needed to be rewarded for the contribution they had made to the land.

Labourers would have to be trained on how to manage the farms and keep them profitable under their own administration, as they already knew how to take care of the land.

Read more on: gugile nkwinti land
Rowan Maulson 2014/09/04 10:12:16 PM
Seriously? Is Nkwinti a complete and utter retard?
Kevern Upton 2014/09/04 10:17:02 PM
We want to leverage our land too, g.f.u.
Paradise Dube 2014/09/04 10:28:53 PM
talking in summit wont help,take the land without compansation but whining in summit you are wasting our time.economic freedom in our life not in 2030 now
Eduard Louw 2014/09/04 10:37:24 PM
He grows fat of our taxes while the communal land tenants pay rent to the Zulu king or even live there for free. What a loser. It is morally indefensible to attack tax payers. If people want land enough they should buy it. Like the rest of us. I want to be like the guy who owns 30000 ha. The Zulu king owns 3 million ha (not owns keep in trust though nobody can sell their land).
Kobus Pienaar 2014/09/04 10:37:56 PM
I also want my bit of half of the company I work for. If farmers must give awaynhalf their farm to the workers, then other compnies in SA must also give half of each company to the workers.
Orige Oumatjie 2014/09/04 10:38:22 PM
Those big farms he talk about lies in the Kalahari Desert. I will be surprised if these land hungry ones will be satisfied with land there.
Fatima Suleman 2014/09/04 10:47:03 PM
I wish land to be redistributed back to the African peoples. I would love a smaller piece myself especially in the freestate area
Altus Kirsten 2014/09/04 10:50:27 PM
Short term political solution for the ANC to get votes, but a very long term economical problem for the whole of South Africa. I hope you enjoy eating dirt with salt and pepper.
Anthony Gold 2014/09/04 10:51:09 PM
He is right in the fact that one person owning 5/10/20/30k hectares of land is morally indefensible.
Wilweet 2014/09/04 10:57:31 PM
"It cannot be that the worker will work forever and at the end of their time on earth, have nothing to show for it. It is not right, it cannot be right" Now minister Clever..tell us why this only applies to farms...what about the defence force, the municipalities, the government farms, the mines. fishery industry, SAA, ......