NEWS
16/05/2018 12:14 SAST | Updated 16/05/2018 12:15 SAST

Government Has Never Taken Land-Reform Budget Seriously

Professor Ruth Hall says land-reform spending has never exceeded 1 percent of the national budget – this year, just 0.1 percent of land will be transferred.

Ariel Skelley via Getty Images

Professor Ruth Hall at the University of the Western Cape's Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) says since 1990, there has not been significant progress in the ANC's land-reform project.

Hall says the party decided to transfer 30 percent of land in the first five years of the programme, but failed to commit to this.

"Here we are sitting in 2018, and there are inconsistent figures — something like between eight and 10 percent of the land, apparently, has been acquired and transferred from white to black ownership. It's been slow," she said.

She explains that the budget for land reform remains has "never exceeded 1 percent of the national budget".

"[Land reform] has clearly been undervalued as an area of government programming. Right now, the land-reform budget is sitting at 0.4 percent of the national budget," she said.

Hall was one of the speakers at the "Land Is Ours" conversation, alongside advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi and Land Bank CEO Tshokolo Petrus Nchocho, on Tuesday evening at the Gordon Institute of Business Science.

She said the 98,000 hectares of land that the government plans to redistribute this year only represents a small percentage (one-tenth of a percent), which shows a regression in the land-reform project.

"It means we are slowing down again — as we have since 2007, which was the high point of land reform. The budget and the pace of redistribution has been slowing down consistently since 2007," according to Hall.

She believes these problems are caused by the lack of political leadership.

"The problem has not been the Constitution or the property clause — the problem with the failure of land reform has been that there's been no political leadership," she said

Hall elaborated: "There has been no clear policy direction; it has been underfunded. There has been mismanagement and corruption."