Cedric Mboyisa

Sustainable settlement models are key to the success of land reform in South Africa.

This is according to Advocate Bheki Mbili, Chief Director of the Land Claims Commission in KwaZulu-Natal. “Over the past three months the Commission has had sector specific conversations with the role-players in each of the sectors with a view to finding sustainable settlement models for restitution,” said Advocate Mbili. He was speaking at the recent annual conference of the Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA) at Elangeni Hotel in Durban.

The session focusing on land reform was sponsored by the South African Sugar Association (SASA), a statutory body representing the sugar industry in the country. Anwhar Madhanpall, Land Reform and Rural Development General Manager at SASA, facilitated the discussions. The panel comprised Advocate Mbili, Emile de Kok (land reform/governance practitioner from Lima Rural Development Foundation), Ronald Ncube (professional accountant and independent trustee of a land holding entity) and Graeme Wellsted (CEO of ZARX).

Sugar industry representatives attending the AEASA conference.

Advocate Mbili pointed out that among their primary focus was the creation and consolidation of partnerships with key stakeholders across sectors in a bid to achieve sustainability, and creation of platforms for training and development opportunities for beneficiaries. The sugar industry’s approach to land reform, said Madhanpall, has always been and proactive one and willingness to work with government to ensure success and sustainability.

In his foreword message to the AEASA conference, KZN MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Themba Mthembu, said that the growth of the agricultural sector would be critical to the attainment of the goals to create 11 million jobs and reduce the unemployment rate to 6% by 2030 as envisaged by the country’s blueprint for development, the National Development Plan. He also emphasised the importance of ensuring there was an inclusive agricultural economy with the meaningful participation of emerging and small-holder farmers.