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Although the successful passing of the amendment of section 25 of the constitution is still a work in progress, the amendment was going to be a breakthrough for ordinary South Africans to be able to access land, especially those wanting to practise agriculture.

While completion of the process was perceived as a beacon of hope for many, the amendment of this section was to address the skewed and unequal ownership of land in the country and also to redress the injustices of land dispossession dating as far back as 1913.

With the departments of agriculture, land reform and rural development spearheading the process of redressing the injustices of land dispossession by putting in place policies that enable farmers to access land, the departments redistribute land to aspiring farmers. However, the process is costly, lengthy and slow.

As a custodian of land redistribution, the amendment of section 25 to enable expropriation of land without compensation will be cheap and speed up the process. Meanwhile, as all and sundry are waiting for parliament to cross the t’s and dot the i’s of coming up with the new legislation, all is not lost. The department provides support to aspiring farmers who want to access land for agricultural purposes.

Furthermore, attempts by the Land Bank, a government-owned development bank, to provide financial services to the commercial farming sector and to agribusiness are commendable. The bank provides new, appropriately designed financial products that assist in facilitating access to finance by new entrants to agriculture from historically disadvantaged backgrounds. The bank makes available funds in terms of loans for all financial needs such as buying land, equipment and working capital for agricultural projects.

Both these entities work within the framework of the constitution to redress land issues with the available resources, with due consideration for the land ills of the past.

Sinazo Alungile Novukela
Lugangeni Location, KwaBhaca

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