Less than 10% of commercial land has been transferred from white to black people through restitution and redistribution since 1994. This is according to Institute for Poverty Land and Agrarian Reform Studies’ Ruth Hall.
Hall participated in a discussion at a land colloquium with the Constitutional Review Committee in Parliament. She was tasked to give her opinion on key policy questions regarding land redistribution, restitution and farm tenure.
“So let me just move on to how much land has been redistributed. Between redistribution and restitution together just under ten percent of commercial farm land has been redistributed from White into Black hand since 1994. It has been very uneven across the provinces, most of the land being in the Northern Cape and of course that’s not the most valuable land,” says Hall elaborating on what has been achieved so far.
Meanwhile, retired Constitutional Court Judge Albi Sachs says Section 25 (8) of the Constitution, dealing with land, is still subject to Section 36, which makes provision for limitation of the Bill of Rights.
Sachs was answering questions from MPs on the Joint Constitutional Review Committee during a discussion on expropriation of land without compensation being held in Parliament.
Section 25 (8) makes provision for the state not to be impeded from making legislation or taking other measures to achieve land, water and related reforms to ensure redress due to past racial discrimination. Sachs explains how the clause cannot operate in isolation from the limitations imposed by Section 36.
“Section 36 I think is important for South Africa. If you give people carte blanche to seize property, the temptations are always there. It’s very very dangerous. So you need controls. You do need criteria. And the criteria must be such as to benefit those most dispossessed. Not benefits those who are the richest as we get in other countries we lived in. Some of them gave us enormous support but leaders went on to emulate in ways that would be incompatible with our general constitution.”