The method in the land transformation madness
If anybody out there is wondering what "real economic transformation" as applied to land might mean, they could study three pieces of legislation currently being processed. One provides for the imposition of ceilings on the sizes of farms, the second for the new valuer general to determine their value, and the third for the processing of additional claims for restitution.
None of these proposed laws is new. However, the government is now due to assess comments on the ceilings and processing bills received by deadlines that expired last week; draft regulations on valuation procedures are open for public comment until 19 June.
Two years ago President Jacob Zuma spoke of a ceiling of 12 000 hectares. The minister of rural development and land reform, Gugile Nkwinti, has suggested ceilings of between 1 000 and 5 000 hectares. The new bill lays down no sizes, however. Ceilings can vary by district, depending on various "land capability" factors.
Anything in excess of the relevant ceiling will be "redistribution" land. If the land commission disagrees with a farmer about which parts of his farm he can keep and which will be redistributed (mostly to the state), the dispute will go to an arbitrator paid by the state.
The value of all property targeted for land reform will be determined by the valuer general. He will add "current use value" or net profit to market value, and then divide the total by two. The current value of any subsidies received in the past will be deducted from this figure.