The President’s proposals for new methods to solve land reform problems have positive and negative implications.
The fact that the President is trying to address the uncertainty and lack of investment in agriculture with these proposals, means that he has thoroughly taken note of my criticism in the past about the failure of current land reform processes.
His proposal of 50% of market value as compensation, where land has been transferred, is totally unrealistic and expects of farmers to carry the costs of land reform. It is impractical and will not resolve the problems.
The proposals to devolve authority to the local community, is a step in the right direction. The local agriculture community is in a much better position to make decisions about land that can be transferred. They also know the local community in order to know who will be able to succeed as a farmer on such land. In the past, this process had been undertaken in a central office, kilometres away and land was transferred to persons who did not have a real interest or wish to use it productively.
The serious problem in land reform remains however the relevant department’s total lack of capacity. Before this problem is not addressed, all new and improved proposals run the risk of failing.