Fraud “on an enormous scale” has been uncovered in the land reform programme in which government officials handed out farms and millions in grants to beneficiaries who did not qualify. The details are contained in a report by the Special Investigating Unit which recommends that 42 people, including the government officials, be prosecuted for fraud and corruption linked to land scams. Business Day obtained the report this week through a Promotion to Access to Information application. It was handed to President Cyril Ramaphosa in March 2018. The government is under fire for the slow pace of land reform, which has become a major political issue. In 2018 the ANC and EFF voted in parliament to change the constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation, arguing that it was a lack of state funds that had hampered land reform. The SIU report probed 148 land reform projects between 2011 and 2017 finding “major systemic weaknesses” and an alarming absence of controls and mec...

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