Land Restitution needs more money
National Treasury has cut the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform's land restitution budget.
In the medium term budget policy statement, the restitution programme was cut to R2,9bn. But there are currently 397 000 new land claims that need to be processed and R2.9 billion is simply not sufficient.
Since the initial land claims window period closed in 1998, government has only finalised and settled some 59 000 of 77 000 valid claims at a cost of R25.2 billion.
Based on this, government may need as much as R169 billion to settle the outstanding claims.
Concerningly, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform appears blithely unconcerned. During a Rural Development and Land Reform portfolio committee meeting last week, the Director-General of the Department said: "National Treasury will have to find the money, as it is a Constitutional obligation."
During the upcoming Budgetary Review and Recommendations (BRR) process the DA will push for land restitution to be allocated a far larger portion of the National Budget.
The restitution and reform processes to date has been too slow, it has not provided sufficient support for reform and restitution beneficiaries to build livelihoods on land.
The government needs to back its stated position of support for land reform with the requisite budget and the DA will push for this to happen.
Statement issued by Kevin Mileham MP, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, October 28 2013
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