Findings of the long awaited land audit released

According to the much anticipated and delayed audit of agricultural land in South Africa, the state owned 22% of the land while 78% was in private ownership.

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This was according to Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti, at the State of the Nation debate in the National Assembly. "We have completed the state and private land audit, and the statistics indicate that approximately 26 million ha is state land, and 96 million ha is privately owned," Nkwinti said. A breakdown of who owns the private land in terms of nationality and race was still outstanding. "There is an institutional challenge, which will be resolved very soon," Nkwinti told MPs.

He outlined problems with the land redistribution process which had allegedly favoured white farmers. "The state has paid twice as much for land for restitution, as it has paid for land for redistribution, because the state is a compelled buyer," he said. Nkwinti’s statement came after President Jacob Zuma committed to end the willing-buyer, willing-seller model during his address last week.

"The numbers clearly show who has benefited from the programme. The small, white, landed class has benefited R10.8bn from land acquired, while the 71,292 working class claimants benefited R6bn," Nkwinti said. The land audit was commissioned to establish exactly how much land is owned by the state and the private sector, as well as how much of that land is owned by blacks. The government aimed to transfer 30% of the estimated 82 million ha of agricultural land in SA to previously disadvantaged farmers by next year.

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