Only R8.7bn budgeted for land restitution over next 3 years - Kevin Mileham

DA MP says govt might need as much as R179bn to settle old and new land claims

Budget 2014: Not enough money to implement Land Restitution Bill 

According to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's 2014/15 National Budget Speech, government is only prepared to spend R8.7 billion on the settlement of land restitution claims over the next three years - approximately R300 million less than the past three years.

This means that at the very same time that the ANC is pushing through the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill - which will require significantly more funding - national government is budgeting less money for land restitution.

This is confirmation that the re-opening of land claims, as enabled by this Bill, is an election ploy designed to divide South Africans, rather than a genuine commitment to redress.

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has always maintained that it does not have sufficient funding to deal with the current outstanding land claims, let alone new ones. 

Since the initial land claims window period closed in 1998, government has only finalised and settled some 77 149 of the 79 696 initial restitution claims at a cost of R16 billion. Government might need as much as R179 billion to settle the outstanding claims and the new claims that would be lodged if the Bill is enacted.

We recognise that people who were deprived of the right to lodge a verifiable land claim before the 1998 deadline should not be penalised because of the State's inefficiency. However, only when the conditions for successful restitution are firmly in place, will we support the one last re-opening of the window for a limited period, while requiring a fixed time period for the finalisation of all claims.

The ANC, on Tuesday, rejected important and necessary DA amendments to the bill that would achieve this. We were therefore unable to support a bill that would create false expectations without any real development.

In its manifesto, the DA sets out a clear and workable alternatives that will benefit the people who actually need it. Indeed, we believe that if it is well managed; land restitution will boost the rural economy, promote justice, and maintain food production and security.

Western Cape provincial Department of Agriculture actively supports farm equity schemes - a reform model with which we have achieved an 80% success rate. When elected into national government the DA will ensure that land reform is properly funded and efficiently and transparently managed.

While Zuma's ANC is making promises it cannot and will not deliver on, the DA is working together to bring change that will create real jobs and redress the injustices of the past.

Statement issued by Kevin Mileham MP. DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, February 27 2014

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