To achieve the DA’s objective of an Open Opportunity Society for All, the DA’s economic and social policies are primarily aimed at creating the circumstances for growth and job creation.
In rural economies South Africa’s history of racial dispossession has left the country with skewed patterns of ownership that excludes the majority of South Africans from land assets and inclusion in rural economies.
The DA supports a land reform process that achieves redress in rural communities, that promotes economic inclusion to lift rural people out of poverty, and supports growth and prosperity in the agricultural sector.
As land and land-use is intricately tied to food production and food security, policies that affect land ownership and land use must prioritise the need to ensure the continued supply of food at prices that are affordable to ordinary South Africans.
Progress in achieving equitable land ownership has been very slow and the ANC government’s land reform approach has not been successful in establishing an emerging class of commercial farmers, in supporting subsistence farming to maintain and enhance food security, in addressing the insecure land rights of the millions of South Africans living on state-owned communal land, or in addressing the urgent land pressures in urban areas.
We must shift the focus of land reform from meeting targets to meeting needs.
The DA proposes an approach to land reform based on the following principles:
- Land reform is a moral and political imperative and represents an opportunity to invigorate rural economies by giving rural dwellers greater access to productive assets.
- The land reform programme must look beyond rural land and truly address the land needs of South Africans who have historically been excluded from land and property ownership, including the need for access to urban land and housing opportunities.
- Our land reform strategy must be informed not by the need to achieve quantitative land targets, but by the objectives to (i) support a thriving commercial agricultural sector that can protect South Africa’s food security, (ii) promote emerging small-scale farmers where economically viable, and (iii) alleviate poverty and support household food security through appropriate assistance for subsistence agriculture. The success of land reform should therefore be determined in terms of the livelihoods created or supported and economic value created, rather than the hectares of land transferred.
- We must ensure that citizens in the former homelands enjoy their full rights as democratic citizens by giving them security of tenure on the land on which they live and farm.
- Insufficient funding and institutional challenges in the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform cannot be allowed to undermine the land reform process.
- Comprehensive support, tailored to the needs of beneficiaries as they move through the various stages of business development, must be understood and be one of the top priorities of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.
- Stakeholders in the private sector and civil society can make an invaluable contribution to the success of land reform, and government departments must actively pursue partnerships and collaboration to achieve shared goals.
- We need comprehensive data on land reform projects that will allow for the identification of common failures that must be addressed and the duplication of models that have been successful.
- Confidence in key assets in rural economies must be restored through clarity on the approach to land reform.