‘Urgent overhaul of land reform process needed’

‘Urgent overhaul of land reform process needed’

South Africa’s land reform process in its current form needs to “sink like the Titanic”, according to Nick Serfontein, member of the advisory panel created to support the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform.

Speaking at the 2019 Bonsmara Red event held in Parys on Wednesday, he said the process as it was currently managed had no chance of success.

Black farmers were deeply angered by the failure of the land reform process to date, which was the result, among other reasons, of incompetence, corruption and nepotism, he added.

“In terms of land reform, we need a one-stop shop managed by the private sector. Tragically, the manner in which it has been run so far has been a gross betrayal of the very people it was supposed to assist.”

He said there was no need to expropriate commercial agricultural land, as there was more than enough land available in South Africa for sustainable land reform, including state-owned land.

Commercial farmers were also putting land on the market that could be used for land reform.

“Of course we are going to have expropriation of land without compensation. But that will mainly take place in urban and peri-urban areas. I can promise you that commercial agricultural land will not be expropriated,” Serfontein said.

The future of agriculture in South Africa was looking good and farmers would be foolish not go out and buy land in the current environment.

The South African agricultural sector “would rise again”, despite the current challenges posed by drought, a struggling economy, and the failure of government structures.

“We have seen it over and over again that when government structures crash, the private sector kicks in. And that is what is going to happen with land reform as well,” he said.