Land under the control of government is an unhealthy practice that causes only harm to the country and to agriculture.
Mr. Louis Meintjes, TAU SA’s president, responded to the news of horrific neglect on a farm near Nigel that is managed by the local authority. Apparently many pigs and chickens died of thirst while plants in vegetable tunnels also died of drought. Meanwhile, it was revealed that the Mamahlola farm near Tzaneen, which was given to the Banareng Ba-Ga-Letsoala community 10 years ago and since then placed under the administration of the government, is not able to pay its workers because of mismanagement.
“It is a known fact that land that is privately owned is generally better managed as it is as part of a business that is considered to be profitable.
“Where government is the manager of land it is delegated to an official with no personal interest in the land. He does not share in the profits or losses with the result that he does not really care about the success.
“During the interim budget by the Minister of Finance he announced that certain state assets will be partially sold in an effort to get government out of its financial problems. Under those circumstances it would be desirable also to sell land owned by government and to get commercial farming going, rather than to let it be neglected as in the Spaarwater and Tzaneen cases where also R15 million of taxpayers’ money was pumped in without a single cent return from it,” SAID Mr Meintjes.
It’s also a fact that many of the land that changed of ownership due to the restitution process is still registered in the name of the Republic of South Africa. That land’s title deeds should be registered in the name of the current beneficiaries to enable them to get that land in full commercial production. Without ownership of that land they will experience difficulty in becoming successful farmers because they do not have access to capital, says Mr Meintjes.
“At the same time, the ANC’s secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, has to take notice of these developments. This is not a perception of inability: here is the reality of failure, and failure by a local government under ANC control.”