BuzzSouthAfrica has been informed that the department of Rural Development and Land reform is almost set to table a new land Bill.
The new land bill as learnt, will enable the establishment of a Land Commission that will help the government carry out a detailed land audit.
Gugile Nkwinti, the Rural Development and Land Reform Minister confirmed this development today at the Imbizo Centre in Parliament while he was speaking to the Media.
According to the Minister, the new land bill aim is to introduce a Land Commission. “People who own land in South Africa must register with that Land Commission,” he said.
The registration he argued, is necessary ” so that we know who owns South Africa so that we can use that as a measure to determine the extent to which land is being redistributed in the country.”
Nkwinti stressed that the Land Commission is the only way the government can determine the true extent of land ownership in South Africa. This is so because, land audits by his department haven’t been able to expose the actual nature of land ownership and use in the country.
Pointing out that several parcels of land are administered by different departments, the Minister said: “…We don’t know a lot of the shareholders. In terms of this law, all of them will have to register with the Commission so that we will know who owns South Africa
“…So that we have a regime that even those people who are foreign nationals in South Africa will lease land.”
The Land Commission, he continued, will “serve as the primary structure to oversee the collection, maintenance and dissemination of all information regarding public agricultural land and private agricultural land – land owned by South Africans, and that is held by foreign persons -.”
Once the new land bill is passed into law, Nkwinti identified that the major instruments of the Land Commission will include:
- A register of agricultural land holdings;
- Disclosures in respect of the present ownership of private agricultural landholdings, including the race, gender and nationality of the owner, the use and size of the agricultural land holding and any real right registered against and licence allocated to the agricultural land holding;
- Prohibition on the acquisition of agricultural land holding by a foreign person;
- Lease of agricultural land holding by a foreign person;
- Disposal of agricultural land holding by a foreign person;
- Determination of categories of ceilings of agricultural land holdings for each district, by the Minister by notice in the Gazette, after consultation with the Commission and having regard to such criteria and factors as may be prescribed;
- Redistribution of agricultural land which is all agricultural land holdings that fall between or exceeds any category of agricultural land holding, and
- First right of refusal by the state in respect of redistribution agricultural land.
With the foregoing, the Minister buttressed that what the bill seeks to set ceilings “in terms of small-scale, medium scale commercial viable farm and large scale…determining the extent to which a large-scale commercial viable farm should be given the various pragmatic conditions across the country.”
Already, the Regulation of Agricultural Land Holdings Bill has been offered-up for public comment and will soon, be tabled in Parliament. The Minister called on South Africans to participate in the debate.