Land: Nkwinti's proposals a departure from the NDP - Helen Zille

DA leader says minister's plan will put SA on path of forced expropriation, job losses and rural decline

Nkwinti proposals a departure from the NDP 

24 June 2014

Note to editors: The following remarks were delivered by DA Leader Helen Zille at a press conference in Parliament today.

The Democratic Alliance today outlines our position on the new Land Reform Policy Proposals published by Minister Gugile Nkwinti.

In their current form, the proposals will lead us on a path of forced expropriation, greater government control of farming development, insecurity, job losses and rural decline (see Sunday Times report).

While the approach of turning farm workers into farm owners is a step in the right direction, the Minister's approach is a profound departure from the model proposed in the National Development Plan (NDP). 

According to the NDP, their model was capable of creating 250,000 direct jobs and a further 130,000 indirect jobs over the medium term.  In his SONA, the President expanded this to 1-million jobs by 2030. The DA believes these targets are achievable with workable models of land reform.  This must also include models for the reform of State-owned land, and communal land.

Minister Nkwinti's proposed model addresses the component of commercial farming only.  While his new plan in theory, seeks to give farmworkers shared ownership of the land they work (a laudable objective), the Minister's approach will do the opposite:  it will exacerbate insecurity, destroy jobs, escalate the already catastrophic exodus of farming expertise from the industry, and have dire implications for food security in the medium term.

All South Africans committed to redressing Apartheid's legacy agree that land reform must be accelerated, and must succeed in our country.

But with the publishing of these new Land Reform proposals, we must now make a choice between the approach proposed in the NDP, or the unworkable deviation proposed by Minister Nkwinti's Department.   We cannot understand why the government does not just get on with implementing its own plan, which uniquely, has the buy-in of all major role players in South Africa.

Minister Nkwinti's new proposal changes the NDP approach in key ways:  It removes the willing buyer willing seller principle, and places the development funds in the hands of a government that has so far failed to run any state-owned enterprise efficiently or productively.  

It also opens the door for massive fraud in tender processes for development projects.  The Nkwinti model is a recipe for bureaucratic failure, adding to the tragic 92% failure rate of land reform projects undertaken thus far.  

We simply cannot afford to fail again.

The only example of successful land reform in the country so far are the equity share schemes of the Western Cape.  These work differently from the model espoused by the National Development Plan.

These schemes, of which there are about 90 in the province, have an 80% success rate.

The Western Cape is prepared to move beyond this highly successful model to pilot the NDPs proposal.  We are very keen to participate with all role-players to make it succeed, and to make people who work the land, the owners of land.

Before the government comes with a radical and destructive departure from what the NDP proposes, let us first try to implement a plan that has been widely consulted, broadly agreed, and has genuine potential to succeed.

The ANC government is rapidly making a mockery of the National Development Plan, that President Zuma promised to implement in his SOPA just last week.

The DA in Parliament will call for the Land Reform Committee to debate the Minister's proposals as a matter of urgency. We will also oppose any legislation emerging from the Minister's proposals in their current form.

We must act now to put our country on the path of real empowerment and growth in the agriculture sector.

Statement issued by DA leader, Helen Zille, June 24 2014

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