White paper to be finalised by May

The minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Nkwinti, wants to have the drafting of the Land Reform White Paper finalised by May 2013.

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Nkwinti said after the National Reference Group (NAREG) meeting held in Cape Town on 15 February that it was the final meeting on the subject. Nkwinti’s spokesperson Mtobeli Mxotwa confirmed that the NAREG discussions had come to an end. He said the department had widely consulted and was ready to wrap up the process. “We cannot continue forever with the discussions,” he said.

However, Annelize Crosby, Agri SA legal and policy advisor, said although the minister indicated that the NAREG meeting was the last, Nkwinti said there would still be discussions through the working group. “The minister indicated that the first working group meeting would be in two weeks after the last meeting,” said Crosby. She said before the final document was drafted that there would be other processes before they were put before parliament.

“Although some of the policies, such as the establishment of a Valuer-General have been through this process, there still would be other policy discussions,” said Crosby. Mxotwa said the discussions with the working group would be just to tie up loose ends. TAU SA said it had not attended the last NAREG meeting as it had earlier pulled out of the discussions. Louis Meintjes, TAU SA president, said being part of the working group had not yielded any results, as government continued to ignore its inputs.

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“I’m not sure if the discussions were officially closed but we are not part of that anymore,” said Meintjes. “It is useless to keep on making inputs if they are going to be ignored,” he said. Meintjes said it had requested the minutes from previous NAREG meetings as there was no feedback from the meetings it had participated in. “We told Nkwinti at the last meeting that he was not being transparent,” Meintjes said. “We have requested the minutes from all the previous NAREG meetings, but he has not done so,” Meintjes said.