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Nkwinti: Policy paper on land reform isn't un-ANC

Andisiwe Makinana

The land reform policy emanates from the ANC’s 2012 policy conference held, and was approved by the national conference, says minister Gugile Nkwinti.

The policy proposal, which involves giving 50% of land to farmworkers, was lambasted as ill-considered and unacceptable by farmer representative bodies.  (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

There is nothing un-ANC about the recently released policy paper on land reform and restitution, which seeks to give farmworkers 50% ownership of the farms they work in. 

In fact, the controversial policy emanates from the ANC’s own policy conference held in 2012, and was approved by the national conference later held that year in Mangaung, according to Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti. 

Nkwinti had been criticised for his Strengthening the Relative Rights of People Working the Land document and some have suggested that the proposals were unlikely to “pass constitutional muster if challenged as they amount to expropriation without compensation”.  

The policy proposal, which involves giving 50% of land to farmworkers, was lambasted as ill-considered and unacceptable by farmer representative bodies.  

Zizi Kodwa, ANC national spokesperson, told City Press that the party did not have a policy position on the mooted 50% share equity scheme for farm dwellers. On Tuesday morning, Nkwinti in not so many words suggested that Kodwa doesn’t understand the policy formulating process. 

“Look, it is one thing to have a conference resolution and quite another to articulate that resolution into policy. 

“If a resolution says remove this gadget, it doesn’t tell you that use a truck to remove this gadget or put it in a bicycle or on your shoulder and walk away with it.” 

Four-tier land tenure system
Nkwinti reminded journalists that the ANC, at its policy conference approved the four-tier land tenure system that is proposed in the document. “How did people miss that out?” he asked. 

“Secondly, it says there: privately owned land – freehold with limited extent. That is the ANC saying that, it’s not me. 

“Thirdly, it says with regards to foreign land ownership: complete the land audit and once you have done so, no non-South African should own land, they should instead lease land on a long term basis. That’s an ANC resolution. 

“Lastly, on communal land, it’s communal tenure with institutionalised use rights. That is the ANC, it’s not me.” 

Nkwinti referred journalists to section 16 of the land tenure system; “and look in particular at bullet point two, it talks about this one that deals with people working on the farms”.

‘Not to engage on that matter’
“How they missed it, I do not understand. So, I choose not to engage on that matter but I must explain it as I am doing now. It is a resolution of Mangaung which came from the policy conference of the ANC,” he said. 

He said they were engaging with stakeholders on the proposals and when that discussion is done in April next year, he will take it to the ANC’s national general council (NGC), which is expected to be held around June or July next year. 

“That is how policy articulation works … the resolution may be one line; it doesn’t tell you the detail, the how part; you go and work it out, that’s your job as the minister.” Nkwinti said he hoped that at the NGC, the ANC will agree with his proposals and give allow him to proceed with implementation. 

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille has been one of the most vocal critics of Nkwinti’s proposals. Writing in her newsletter on Sunday, she said that the “innovation” contradicted both the letter and spirit of the National Development Plan. “It once again exclusively focused on how to enforce redistribution (without compensation) of productive agricultural land, while ignoring the vast tracts of land under state control and the millions of immensely fertile (but unproductive) hectares under communal ownership,” said Zille.


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