In post-apartheid SA, land is one of the most fraught issues, yet the government, the potential kingmaker for transformation of ownership, uses vital resources for politicians’ self-enrichment and nepotistic favours. An intern at the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies — a leading research and policy organisation — Mnqobi Ngubane, a PhD candidate at the University of the Western Cape, examined the government’s support for black commercial farmers in the eastern Free State and found it failed them badly. Land redistribution and loans from the Land Bank are the foremost means for black commercial farmers to acquire land. The specialist agricultural bank was formed in 1912 — just before thousands of black farmers were reduced to poverty by the 1913 Land Act that reserved most land in SA for whites — and has a mandate to provide financial services to commercial farming and agribusiness. In democratic SA, the Land Bank’s mandate is to avail appropriately designed financial p...

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