Saai – an organisation that protects the interests of family farmers – submitted commentary on the draft National Policy for Beneficiary Selection and Land Allocation (NPBSLA), which closed on 2 March 2020. The draft policy was published on 3 January 2020, while the proposed amendments to Section 25 of the Constitution are still open for public comment.
This policy aims to determine who qualifies as beneficiaries of land redistribution. Interestingly, the policy specifically caters for possible land redistribution to spouses of public servants, municipalities and property developers. Land to be allocated includes land repossessed by banks as well as land acquired on the open market. However, the policy remains silent on what compensation (if any) will be paid for land that is acquired on the open market.
The land allocation will be facilitated by a so-called national as well as provincial land allocation and selection panels. Disputes over land allocation will not be subject to independent settlement but would rather be settled by the Director General and the Minister.
“The policy appears to pre-empt the land redistribution debate that currently rages in South Africa, as it seems to be based on the assumption that the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution is a foregone conclusion,” says Francois Rossouw, CEO of Saai.
Saai’s submission on the draft policy is based on three main concerns:
- The NPBSLA does not explicitly identify the minister’s authority to publish the NPBSLA;
- The NPBSLA is arbitrary as it does not include food security as a policy objective; and
- The NPBSLA is irrational because the policies set out in the NPBSLA cannot reasonably achieve the policy objectives stated in the NPBSLA.