Home Practice Management Minister Didiza announces the release of state land

Minister Didiza announces the release of state land

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The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Ms Thoko Didiza (MP), has announced the process to be followed by members of the public in applying for available Agricultural State land as part of the government contribution to the land reform programme.

There is an opportunity for accountants to assist applicants in filing the necessary paperwork for acquisition of these parcels of land.

This is the text of the statement from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.

The minister announced that in the next two weeks, government will issue advertisement notices of 896 farms measuring 700 0000 hectares of underutilised or vacant State land in the following provinces:

Eastern Cape = 43000 Ha
Free State = 8333 Ha
KwaZulu-Natal = 3684 Ha
Limpopo =121 567 Ha
Mpumalanga = 40 206 Ha
Northern Cape =12 224 Ha
North West = 300 000 Ha

Gauteng and Western Cape have no land to be advertised.

The advertisement notices will be in the local, district and provincial newspapers, websites and local radio stations. Application forms will be made available in the district offices and provincial offices of the Departments of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development as well as Municipal District offices.

The adjudication and selection process

After the closing date, all applications received will be compiled and captured in a database per district in each province.

•The District Beneficiary Screening Committee (DBSC) will screen the application, interview against the criteria as set out in the advertisement notice and make recommendations to the Provincial Technical committee (PTC) for consideration. (Approximately 2 weeks)

•The Provincial Technical Committee (PTC) will evaluate and review the District Committee (DBSC)’s recommendations and submit to the national department for approval. (Approximately 3 weeks)

•The National Selection and Approval Committee (NSAC) will consider all recommendations and approve suitable applications. (Approximately 3 weeks)

•Both the successful and unsuccessful applicants will be informed of the outcome in writing.

Land Allocation Appeal process

Unsuccessful applicants will have an opportunity to register their appeals to the Land Allocation Appeals Committee.

Land Allocation Enquiry Process:

A land inquiry process will be on-going on State land that is already occupied without formal approval from the department. Such enquiry will assess farms that have been acquired through Pro Active Land Acquisition (PLAS) programme. The land enquiry will investigate and determine how individuals and communities that are currently occupying the land got access to it. The enquiry will also look at how the land is currently being utilised and whether such use is in accordance with the agricultural practices for the area. Where such land has been used for settlement, assessment will be done, together with the departments of human settlement and water affairs, environmental, forestry and fisheries. Based on the outcome of the assessment and recommendation, a decision will be taken on the future of such occupations.

Land Administration Unit

The government offers a 30-year leasehold, with an option to buy. This form of leasehold places certain obligations to the State as the lessor and beneficiaries as the lessees.

Beneficiary responsibilities

All beneficiaries who have been allocated State land and signed lease agreements will be subjected to a compulsory training programme. The training programme will include entry level training on the commodity of their choice, basic record keeping, and basic financial management as well as enterprise development.

Lease Agreement Legal and Compliance matters:

1. The lease agreement signed between the State and the beneficiary will be a legally binding contractual agreement.

2. The Lease agreement will not be transferable under any circumstances.

3. The beneficiary will not be allowed to sub-lease or sublet a portion of land or the whole of the farm under the leasehold between him/her and the State.

4. The beneficiary has an obligation to maintain all the infrastructure and upkeep of the land allocated to him/her.

5. The beneficiary will have to manage, maintain and keep the record of assets received from the State.

6. Any investment made by the beneficiary must be recorded, valued and reported to the State.

7. Beneficiaries will pay a monthly or annual rental fee per hectare determined by the State, consistent with the value of the land in line with area valuation.

8. A credit management system will be put in place to manage debt recovery and management.

Failure to comply with any of the contractual obligations listed above, the State will consider the option of terminating the lease.

Government Responsibilities

1. Enter into a lease agreement with the beneficiary, 30 days after approval of the application.

2. Ensure that basic infrastructure is in good shape and register the infrastructure and assets on the farm.

3. Issue monthly invoices to the beneficiary with payment due date.

4. Undertake quarterly inspection visits by the Land administration unit to ensure that State infrastructure and assets are well kept.

5. Table annual reports on the performance of the lease and productivity of the land to the minister.

Progress to date

Since the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his February 2020 State of the Nation Address, the department has released 135 117 hectares of land to 275 farmers. The breakdown per province is as follows:

Free State = 501 hectares

Gauteng = 929 hectares

KwaZulu-Natal = 4 940 hectares

Limpopo = 32 170 hectares

Mpumalanga = 50 480 hectares

North West = 46 097 hectares

The beneficiaries in terms of demographics are as follows:

Women = 160

Youth = 114

Persons with disabilities = 1

Proactive land acquisition

Through the PLAS program 20 439ha of land have been released to 6 young beneficiaries, 4 of which are female and 2 male. These beneficiaries are:

Ms DM Magoba and Mr T K Maripane of Manini Holdings – 455 ha

Ms R E Baloyi – 937,5 ha

Ms RM Gaorekwe – 8835 ha

Mr GAP Eiman – 8469,7 ha

Land claims

About 360 173 ha was identified through the State Land analysis to be under claim equating to 413 properties.

43 670 hectares equating to 60 properties are new order claims, a process which had been interdicted by the constitutional court. The post December 1998 application deadline.

Progress to date

• 4 089 hectares equating to 7 properties have already been transferred to beneficiaries of land claims. Research has been concluded on 4558 hectares equating to 10 properties and will be finalized in due course.

• 117 000 hectares is currently under research for the 2020/21 financial year.

• 30 823 hectares equating to 46 properties relate to land claims have been settled and yet to be transferred in the current financial year.

The remaining hectares will be transferred as soon as the claims are settled.

Contact

For more information, contact the Department’s Media Liaison Officer, Mr Reggie Ngcobo on 0828832458.