October 8, 2004

Committee to hear public submissions on land reform

The National Assembly's Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Land Affairs is going to hear public submissions on the pace of land reform. Neo Masithela, the committee chairperson, has therefore invited interested parties to submit written submissions by 13 October. During the public hearings, some of the stakeholders may be asked to give oral evidence before the committee. Masithela described South Africa's land reform policy as a step in the right direction and added that "on the basis of the same policies we want to check the implementation process, this is to ascertain whether we are moving in tandem with those policies or not," he said. He mentioned the Land Restitution Amendment Bill, Security of Tenure Act, Communal Land Rights Bill and the Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD) programme as instruments that contributed to the success of land reform in the country. The committee further hoped to see more beneficiaries and those still waiting to benefit from land reform to take part in the hearings.
Masithela also reiterated that land was one of the fundamental instruments that contributed to economic development of the country. "People with access to land can plough and sell their produce locally and internationally, thereby contributing to job creation. Land reform also aims to address the imbalances of the past," he explained. He added that it was the duty of Parliament to draft laws that were beneficial to the citizens. "The intention is to make people understand that the land issue in Africa and in South Africa in particular is a very sensitive one and needs to be treated with the sensitivity it deserves. We have to evaluate how our policies and implementation fared in the past ten years and how best to improve on them," he said. The committee intends to submit a report on the pace of land reform to Parliament before the end of the month. (Bua News, Pretoria)

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