As always, the Financial Mail over three years to settle restitution claims — along with R8.8bn for redistribution — is welcome. The overall allocation (by function) for "rural development and agriculture" for 2018/2019, at R30.2bn, represents an increase of close to R3bn on the previous year. This is a substantial sum of money. But the projections supplied in the Budget Review do not show much growth in this over the coming years: R30.3bn in 2019/2020 and R31.8bn in 2020/2021. Rural development and agriculture will account for 1.8% of consolidated government expenditure in 2018/2019. This will decline to 1.6% for each of the coming two years. This hardly seems to match the rhetoric about the urgency of land reform and the importance of agriculture to SA’s future, increasingly common in the public square and repeated by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his state of the nation address (Sona). These figures become far more meaningful when viewed within the context of current policy debate...

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