Vumelana has also emphasised the importance of broader collaboration to drive the success of the department’s projects in land reform.

11 May 2023; Land Reform – The Vumelana Advisory Fund, a non-profit organisation that works with land reform beneficiaries to make their land productive by facilitating partnerships between communities and investors has welcomed the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DRDLR)’s budget allocations. Vumelana has also emphasised the importance of broader collaboration to drive the success of the department’s projects in land reform – where a lot of work still needs to be done.

Earlier this week, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, announced that an allocation of R17,254,348 billion has been made for the 2023/24 financial year to implement programmes that address food security needs of communities and the country, address land reform, hunger, transform spatial planning, and contribute towards the development of rural areas in partnership with other spheres of government, among others.

A budget of R218 million has set for land acquisition to address security of tenure and for the acquisition of 5685 hectares of land in the current financial year.

The Department has also allocated a budget of R3.9 billion to finalise 349 claims and settle 406 claims in this fiscal year.

Vumelana has welcomed the Department’s commitment to accelerate the settlement and finalisation of land claims through its backlog reduction strategy and the close monitoring of its performance throughout the year, noting that the delay in the conclusion of land claims continue to deprive communities of opportunities to generate an income from their land.

Peter Setou, Chief Executive of the Vumelana Advisor Fund says, “It is encouraging to see the commitments that the Department has made for this Budget allocation.. “However, to achieve these targets there is a need for broader collaboration with all stakeholders involved in land reform.”

Setou noted that, while the Department is making efforts to resolve claims, there is currently still a backlog on unresolved claims with  nearly 7,000 outstanding land claims, as highlighted by the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights.

“It is imperative to expedite the resolution of these claims so that affected communities can begin reaping the rewards of their land,” he said.

He highlighted that, over the years, Community Property Associations (CPAs) have grappled with recurring challenges, including post-settlement support, access to markets, skills challenges, governance issues, and overall community relations.

“While some interventions have contributed towards progress in land reform, such efforts have not been adequately scaled up. To effectively achieve results and meet the targets outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP) for land reform, broader collaboration including support for partnerships with the private sector and other like-minded organisations is essential,” concluded Setou.

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