Tau SA calls for credible land audit

safarmA credible land audit should take place before the land claims process is reopened, farmers’ union Tau SA said.


Ownership figures released in the much-awaited land audit in February were not reliable, union president Louis Meintjies said in a statement.


“Utmost dissatisfaction was expressed about the uncertainty of the land audit, especially with regard to state-owned land, during TAU SA’s general council meeting in Pretoria.


“The process was not transparent and therefore no value could be attached to the audit.”


Meintjies claimed the figures, released by Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti, contradicted those he announced previously.


“According to Nkwinti’s latest figures, the state owns less land than what was previously estimated.”


He said it seemed that agricultural land was being registered in the country on an almost weekly basis.


Tau SA launched its own land audit initiative several years ago, but this was halted because the state apparently refused to fund it.


Nkwinti announced in February that about 26 million hectares belonged to the state and 96m hectares were privately owned.


A break down of which nationalities and races owned the private land was still outstanding.


“There is an institutional challenge which will be resolved very soon,” Nkwinti told MPs at the time.


Tau SA’s general council recommended that a comprehensive land audit take place before the land claims process reopened.


Nkwinti recently announced an indefinite postponement of the reopening of the land claims process.


According to the draft Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill, published in May, the new land claims deadline would be December 31, 2018. The previous deadline was December 31, 1998.


The land claim process is aimed at providing compensation to those forcibly removed from their land by the colonial and apartheid governments between 1913 and 1994. – Sapa