True Land Reform Would Break Up the Status Quo
Land Reform in South Africa Becomes Just Another Corrupt Bureaucracy
When land reform is attempted by a government bureaucracy, you get very uneven results and a big dollop of corruption.
Here is an example. This article originally appeared in Business Day (Johannesburg).
by Hopewell RadebeGovernment's land redistribution policy is no longer favoring the landless poor, but sets out to develop a class of black commercial farmers who own capital and have access to bank loans, says a study conducted by the University of the Western Cape.
The research supports statements that since government introduced the Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD) policy, land transferred to wealthier beneficiaries is considerably more than that transferred to poorer beneficiaries, per capita.
For example, in Eastern Cape and Western Cape, individuals and small groups with access to loans and other resources acquired an average of 72.8 hectares and 88 hectares of land per person, respectively. Meanwhile, poor people who formed larger groups only acquired 15.1 hectares of land per person in Eastern Cape and 3 hectares per person for Western Cape.
"The big winners under LRAD would appear to be small groups with substantial resources of their own and with access to Land Bank loans," said one of the researchers, Peter Jacobs.
LRAD has decreased the number of poor beneficiaries because of demands on individuals to have some form of cash. And as a result, the redistribution programme is falling short of its modest target to transfer 30% of commercial agricultural land to black owners over 15 years.
Meeting this target would require the redistribution of about 1.64-million hectares a year.
Although the pace of land delivery increased in recent years and government redistributed almost 1.5-million hectares of land to 130,000 beneficiaries since 1995, half of it was in only three provinces: Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Free State.
"This figure is less than 2% of all commercial agricultural land in South Africa," Jacobs said.
While LRAD policy provides for a range of commercial and some form of "subsistence" uses, it has nonetheless removed the requirement that applicants should be "poor" to be eligible.
Through LRAD, government makes available larger grants to individuals able to contribute to the cost of land and also invest in production.
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