Neels Blom Writer at large

The director of the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) at Stellenbosch University, Prof Johann Kirsten, has delivered a damning review of the state’s performance in land reform over the past two decades. Kirsten is a leading expert in land reform in SA, having been involved in research and planning in the government and as an academic. He said the recommendations he and senior colleagues made in the 1990s had been completely ignored. "More than 20 years after that research and write-up [1996] it is quite frightening to see how every possible thing that we argued could go wrong, did." SA’s land-reform programme is widely regarded, and acknowledged by the government, as having failed, with up to 90% of beneficiaries unable to produce a commercially viable surplus. About R69bn (in real terms) had been spent on the acquisition of 7-million hectares of land, which in 2015 figures was nearly the total value of SA’s agricultural land at R71bn. Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gug...

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