POLITICS
12/03/2018 17:16 SAST | Updated 12/03/2018 17:22 SAST

7 Pillars To DA's Land-Reform Policy

The party held a briefing on Monday morning to discuss land, and its plans for land-reform that do not require constitutional amendments.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane is adamant that his party has a better plan regarding land reform than the current ANC-led government. Maimane held a briefing at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg on Monday to lay out an alternative land reform plan. This is what the DA would do if it was in power:

1. The party would not amend the Constitution, because it points out that there are ways reform can be achieved within its current confines. Maimane has called the move by government a "populist move" and a way to conceal its inadequacies.

2. New recipients of state-subsidised housing would receive title deeds, as would past recipients of Reconstruction and Development Plan (RDP) homes.

According to Maimane, this would mean expanding housing opportunities by providing serviced plots close to urban areas.

3. The DA would make it cheaper for first-time buyers to purchase homes by lowering transfer fees.

The party says it might even abolish transfer duties on house purchases under R2-million and for buyers over the age of 65.

It would also introduce a subsidy for those who do not qualify for RDP houses, to help them get home loans.

4. The party would like to transfer ownership of thousands of acres of government-owned farms and fallow land, instead of treating emerging farmers as permanent tenants.

The DA says the state owns more than 4,300 farms, which it leases to black farmers. The government counts this land as having been redistributed.

Sumaya Hisham / Reuters
DA leader Mmusi Maimane speaks during a media briefing at Parliament in Cape Town. February 12, 2018.

5. The DA would give residents of tribal land security of tenure that is recorded and legally enforceable.

Maimane says the party would attempt to secure tenure in informal settlements by amending Section 10 of the Housing Act (Act 107 of 1997). This act looks at restrictions on the voluntary sale of state-subsidised housing. The current probationary period would be reduced to two years.

6. The party would allocate adequate budgets to settle all remaining land-restitution claims and for land-reform purposes, on the basis of constitutional guidelines for compensation.

The DA says it would use technology in managing land-restitution claims and land-redistribution transactions. Key information would be made accessible to those involved in the transactions.

The opposition party says there is a need to consider that some beneficiaries would prefer to be compensated instead of receiving land.

7. Those who want to farm would receive any support they might want or need, through the transference of skills and by providing access to the resources and markets they need to sell their goods.

This would include establishing relationships between emerging farmers and experienced agribusiness practitioners, and working with cooperatives to help farmers improve their skills and establish sales channels for their products.

Parliament recently adopted a motion to review the Constitution and if necessary, amend it to allow land expropriation without compensation. The motion was brought by EFF leader Julius Malema but amended by the ANC, after which it passed with a vote of 241 in support and 83 against.

The DA was one of the parties that voted against the motion.