How much land is REALLY owned by SA state?

“ We shall dismantle the apartheid-landscape: Jacob Zuma to SA parliament… “
” We shall dismantle the apartheid landscape, which dictated where people should live and work on the basis of the colour of their skin. To this day, we are still working to reverse this legacy, hence the review of the ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ principle in order to accelerate the equitable distribution of land. You will recall as well that the education system was also used as an instrument to ensure perpetual subjugation as stated by Hendrik Verwoerd…’ 

In February 2012, the ANC leaders claimed – inaccurately – that 80% of all the land still belongs to ‘the whites’.

However – according to a March 2011 land-registry survey summary to parliament, the SA State already owned 64,976 of the 85,000 (+) ‘white’ commercial farms and 5,448 agri-holdings registered as ‘white ówned” in 1994 – but the ANC-regime doesn’t know the exact extent of its own state-land holdings because its Land Registry Records do not include the 41% of the total SA land surface of 1,214,470 sq km which used to be the independent tribal homelands – where millions of black people still farm and have settlements today. All this tribal land now is also owned by the State although not lodged in any land-registries…

90% of all the ‘redistributed farms’ are idle:

FARMLAND 90 PERCENT OF BLACK OWNED FARMS FAILING BBC REPORT By March 2011 the State owned 64,976 farms, 5448 ‘agricultural holdings’; and 41% of SA’s entire land surface  in the former tribal homelands – which are not as yet registered in the Land Registry office and thus are also not listed as ‘State-owned’ in their official land-registries. All their public pronouncements claiming that ‘Whites own 80% of all the lands’ are clearly inaccurate propaganda.  The former home-lands remain available to farming — and are being farmed by millions of black people today; and the State in 1994 also inherited  another1,085,084 state-owned urban sites:  which are mostly municipalities and their parcels designated for township developments, as well as inheriting large military-holdings, forests and wildlife reserves.

In 2008 –  only 0.79% of the country’s land surface was under permanent crops: only 14,980 square km was under irrigation

The CIA observations from space have also registered the fact that by the end of 2008, although SA previously had  access to 12.1% ‘arable land’ of its total land surface — only 0.79% of the land was under permanent crops – of which 14,980 sq km were irrigated in 2008.  https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sf.html

National State Land March 31 2011 –

Below: In March 31 2011, a total 1,155,508 Land parcels were identified as State land – of which 1,085,084 were urban, 64,976 were state-owned farms and 5,448 were state-owned agricultural holdings.  In addition 41% of the SA land-surface were former black homelands: now also owned by the State and occupied/farmed by millions of black people.

FARMLAND p2 OWNED BY THE STAT mar 2011 report Land-parcels formerly belonging to autonomous tribal homelands, and of course still occupied and farmed in 2011 by the same tribal groups, occupy as much as 41% of the total SA land surface – yet are not registered in the current Land Deeds Registry Office and ‘cannot be reconciled’ as per below, per province: (so how can ‘whites own 80% of all the land?)

FARMLAND PARCELS 3A OWNED BY THE STATE SURVEY MARCH 31 2011 

Above — Up to 41 % of all the SA land (private and state) was however also identified as being in the formerly independent black homelands – and which parcels could not be reconciled with the SA Deeds Registration System because this land was under the hegemony of autonomic black-tribal entities and was not registered in the SA Deeds office before 1994. After 1994, the homelands ceased to exist. However — Millions of  black South Africans still maintain subsistence farms and settlements there  in e.g. Gazankulu, Bophuthatswana, QwaQwa, Bantu trusts, Kwa-Zulu, Transkei, Venda etc.

Arable farm-land in South Africa occupied only 6% percent of entire land-surface proven to be suitable for renewable, irrigated  food-cropping:

In 1994, the SA revenue registers showed that there were between 85,000 and 100,00 privately-owned, food-producing farms in South Africa, which employed more than 1,6-million workers – all taxpayers who lived on the farms with their families. These farms ever only produced this excess-food on less than SIX PERCENT of the entire surface of the country – although according to the CIA, 12,1 percent of SA is considered ‘arable’ land.

FARMLAND PARCELS PRIVATE LAND P3 B March 31 2011      

The effect on the SA agricultural sector

Only 1,000 grain-producing commercial farmers by 2010: Grain-SA

By 2010, the Grain-SA Cooperative reported a membership of only 1,000 grain-producing farmers in the entire country. The rest of the members in the Transvaal Agricultural Union and Agri-SA produce many other food-crops and products from livestock – while many commercial farmers also generated extra income by turning to the lower-overhead wildlife-farming and game-lodge tourism and hunting industry.

2011: Only 14,000 privately-owned, registered commercial farms remain on the taxpayers-registry:
However what this careful survey of the disreputable records in the SA Deeds Registration Office did reveal, was that there’s considerably more land owned by the State than they realise: that from the original 85,000 privately-owned food-producing farms in the hands of ‘white’ owners –  (“Boer farms”) , only about 14,000 farms and smallholdings in 2010 were registered at the SA Revenue Office as being  revenue-producing ‘white-owned commercial agricultural sites’- all the other farms are in the hands of the State, including of course all the former homelands, municipalities, huge parcels of unused military land, etc. 

In 2008 –  only 0.79% of the country’s land surface was under permanent crops: only 14,980 square km was under irrigation

SouthAfrica Satellite View Weather EuymetsatFeb142012

        http://www.weatherphotos.co.za/

The CIA observations from space have also registered the fact that semi-arid South Africa’s crop production has dropped dramatically since 1994:  by the end of 2008, SA ‘s total land surface comprised of 12.1% ‘arable’ farmable land’  — but only 0.79% of this land was under permanent crops :  of which 14,980 sq km were irrigated in 2008. 

South Africa is a very arid country with irregular supplies of running surface-water in many regions. The country’s agricultural production is largely reliant on the eleven-year drought/excessive rainfall cycle caused by the El Nino/El Nina weather phenomenon in the southern hemisphere. The commercial farmers over the years successfully adapted their production-methods to this phenomenon over the past two centuries, preserving water in farm-dams for times of drought, carting in tons of natural fertilizer from off-shore islands, using the crop-rotation system to replenish and enrich the soul,  and devising other ways of increasing dry-land food production. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sf.html

Food production on 90% of ‘redistributed farms’ is non-existent:
Yet despite the fact that 90% of the ‘redistributed farms’ now lay totally idle and produce no food whatsoever – — the South African government is still going full-steam ahead with its land-nationalisation programme.

Transvaal Agricultural Union of South Africa:  objections to proposed Land Tenure Tenancy Bill to committee on rural development and land reform: 
http://www.tlu.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=184:submission-tot-portfolio-committee-on-rural-development-and-land-reform&catid=36:jongste-nuus

Tthe Chief Surveyor-General of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform urged parliament in their preliminary land-registry analysis on 31 March 2011 that “the many discrepancies discovered in the land-ownership of specific land-parcels be urgently investigated and corrected”.

2010: Only 14,000 privately-owned, registered commercial farms remain on the taxpayers-registry:
However what this careful survey attempt amongst the disreputable records in the SA Deeds Registration Office did reveal, was that there’s considerably more land owned by the State than they realise: that from the original 85,000 to 100,000 privately-owned food-producing farms in the hands of ‘white’ owners –  (“Boer farms”) in 1994 — , only about 14,000 farms and smallholdings were registered at the SA Revenue Office as being  revenue-producing ‘white-owned commercial agricultural sites’ giving jobs to about 350,000 fulltime workers by 2010. All the other farms are in the hands of the State, including of course all the former homelands, municipalities, huge parcels of unused military land, etc. 

sources:

Entire SA Land Deed Registration Survey report to Parliament, March 2011:
http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page72308?oid=233058&sn=Marketingweb+detail&pid=90389

http://www.boell.org.za/web/107-674.html

Transvaal Agricultural Union of South Africa, objections to proposed Land Tenure Tenancy Bill: 
http://www.tlu.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=184:submission-tot-portfolio-committee-on-rural-development-and-land-reform&catid=36:jongste-nuus

Intelligence General Laws Amendment Bill
http://www.info.gov.za/view/DownloadFileAction?id=156569

We shall dismantle the apartheid landscape: Jacob Zuma:

http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page72308?oid=233028&sn=Detail&pid=72308

Land use, South Africa, CIA:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sf.html

TAU objects to proposed Land Tenure Tenancy Bill:

http://www.tlu.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=184:submission-tot-portfolio-committee-on-rural-development-and-land-reform&catid=36:jongste-nuus

90% of black-owned State farms from former white farmers are failing: BBC:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8547621.stm

About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

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