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More Lip Service On Land Reform

Author: Anna Majavu

The Zuma administration has acknowledged the failure of the “willing buyer-willing seller” model, whereby the state could only buy back stolen land at inflated costs set by the new owner – and only if the owner chose to sell.

During his State of the Nation address six weeks ago, the president announced a departure from the willing buyer, willing seller model, saying that landowners would henceforth only be allowed to own a maximum of 12 000 hectares. The rest would be purchased by the state for redistribution to the landless, at a price set by the new Land Valuer-General.

The deadline for that appointment was originally this week. But Land Reform and Rural Development ministry spokesperson Linda Page told SACSIS yesterday that the department now expected to appoint the Land Valuer-General by June 2015.

The idea of creating this post is already four years old, and agriculture minister Senzeni Zokwana has already contradicted the idea of expropriating land above the 12 000 hectare ceiling, telling white farmers at a recent meeting that this ceiling is flexible. Zokwana said the “type of crop” being grown would first be taken into account before government expropriated land.

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