Minister Gugile Nkwinti meets farmers over budget speech concerns
25 May 2015
Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Mr Gugile Nkwinti says land ceilings are a necessary imperative for equitable land redistribution in South Africa. Minister Nkwinti was speaking at a consultative meeting with organised agriculture held at St George Hotel in Pretoria last week Friday, 22 May 2015.
The Minister met with agricultural sector representatives as part of efforts to address concerns they raised following the delivery of the 2015/16 budget and policy speech of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform earlier this month. The issue of land ceilings was among the key concerns farmers raised, saying they were not consulted on the proposed land caps as contained in the budget speech.
Agri-SA, AFASA, Agri-Business and Grain SA said the proposed ceilings of 1 000 ha for small scale commercial farms, 2500 for medium scale farms, and 5000ha for large scale operations had not been communicated prior to the budget speech. The proposed maximum ceiling for all categories of farms is 12 000ha. The groups therefore sought clarity regarding the policy proposals in particular the issue of expropriation of excess land between the first three categories.
Minister Nkwinti reminded the groups that he had indeed consulted them on the issue of land ceilings but conceded that the exact figures had not been adequately articulated previously. On the 50/50 policy framework proposal the minister said the approach will be as provided for in the National Development Plan.
“We are not fixed on the 50/50 framework, we are fixed on flexibility”, the Minister said. He also confirmed that the piloting of the 50 farms for the implementation of the 50/50 policy frame work will continue over the MTSF period indicated in the budget speech and on various other platforms.
During the discussions, the organised agriculture representatives said they were concerned about the creation of a balance between land redistribution and economic growth of the country. The Minister however said the proposed figures for the land ceilings are guided by among others, discussions and consultation and research on current farm sizes in the country.
The agricultural sector groups said they will return to consult further with their members to consolidate their views and concerns with regards to identified aspects of the budget and policy speech. They also agreed to send these to the minister in writing in the next week. In turn the minister gave his assurance that further consultations will be held in order to try to find common ground on the policy proposals as far as possible.
Statement issued by Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, May 26 2015