Speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the Nation in Conversation at Nampo Harvest Day in Klerksdorp, department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries DG Mike Mlengana said the forceful seizure of land is not the solution to land issues facing the country.
Mlengana, who was part of a five-member panel said on Monday night the only solution is for people to adhere to the government’s stipulated land policies and development rules.
“Land grabs are not a solution to what the country is working towards. There are land policies and programmes that have been developed by the government to ensure that people have access to land and it may not be as fast as people want it to be, but land grabs work against that plan.
When we started this thing of proactive acquisition of land, the idea was that we would work on time and title deeds would be given to those that are successful, and that is why the segmentation of commercial and semi-subsistence farmers was very important.
It makes sense to hand over the title deeds to the guys who are successful so that they can look at the enterprise with responsible eyes. The absence of the title deeds has put a lot of pressure on the recapitalisation of these farms.”
DG Mike Mlengana also condemned the media for painting a picture that suggests that South African farmers, especially white commercial farmers frustrate the government’s plans to fast-pedal transformation.
On the contrary, he said farmers are aware of the radical economic transformation policies and that they have indicated interest to join the inclusive programme of growth.
Commenting on what it takes to give back land to owners, he stressed that beneficiaries must be those that will meet up the government’s criteria.
DG Mike Mlengana added:
You must have experience in farming, financial viability, the legitimacy of all the information that creates security for the product, we need to know that and the capability of this farmer in order to start his initiatives, then the government can come and complement that.
There must be criteria before the government can hand over a farm. You won’t just get land just because you applied.
Other panel members include Roelf Meyer of In Transformation Initiative, Land Banks’ TP Nchocho, 702 Cape Talk’s Stephen Grootes and Bosveld Group’s Milaan Thalwitzer.
The chief proponents of land expropriation, better known as land grabs in South Africa are the members of the Economic Freedom Fighters.
As far back as 2013, the party in a briefing held in August, in Johannesburg reiterated its commitment towards its policy of land grabs. Malema at the time said, “Anyone who resists the surrender of land will meet [with] the determination of the people.”
Although Malema and his men have been pushing for a change in the constitution to make it possible to own land, the ANC maintains it must handle the matter its own way.