Address by Mr Stanley Ntapane, MP in the Parliamentary Debate: Budget Vote 33: Rural Development and Land Reform (31 May 2013)

Mr Speaker and honourable Members,

The UDM supports Budget Vote 33.

President Zuma announced in the 2013 State of the Nation Address (SONA) that government would reopen the lodgement of claims in order to accommodate those who missed the December 31, 1998 deadline and to accommodate the Koi and San people who were dispossessed of their land prior to the 1913 Land Act.

We were too happy to hear this announcement from the President. And as expected, this raised our people’s expectations.

However, after scrutinising Government’s track record in processing land claims, we are left wondering whether it has the capacity to deal with new land claims considering that it is still struggling to address the current backlog on outstanding land claims.

The Department also has inadequate post-transfer farmer support programmes. Nowhere is this more evident than in the low number of land-reform beneficiaries who are actively farming. And in the majority of cases where there is some agricultural activity, many of the beneficiaries use only a small piece of their land.

In addition, an increasing number of farms have become white elephants in the post-transfer period. One such example is a farm in KwaZulu-Natal that used to produce 4000 tons of bananas, which has now become a white elephant.

Mister Speaker,

We have been receiving complaints from members of the public about the land reform programme. It seems there is a growing perception out there that the majority of land reform beneficiaries are male.

We call on the Department to look into this matter and ensure that its land reform programme is line with gender equity policies.

We hope that once completed the research report on reopening land claims will, among others, speak directly to these problems.

We wish to take this opportunity to commend the Department for all the good work it has done thus far.

Thank you.