Last Tuesday, South African Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza provided an update about her government’s latest stab at land reforms, pledging that it would be done in a fair, transparent manner.
In early October, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development announced it was making almost 900 farms available for emerging farmers to lease on underutilised or vacant state land. Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza said that 5,838 online applications had been received from cooperatives, companies and individuals. A number of physical applications were also made, which have yet to be tallied.
“We […] urge all South Africans to seize this opportunity and submit their applications online or at our provincial and district offices in the seven provinces before the closing date of 15 November 2020,” Didiza said.
When the initiative was announced, rigid timelines were laid and so the process should be completed about eight weeks after the deadline for applications.
One of the many challenges that have bedevilled South Africa’s largely failed attempts at land reform has been a lack of capacity at the department to properly vet and complete applications from aspiring farmers.