Expropriation on cards

The government intends acquiring five million hectares of land next year in an effort to have 30percent of agricultural land in the hands of black farmers by 2014, Agriculture Minister Lulu Xingwana said in Cape Town yesterday.

The government intends acquiring five million hectares of land next year in an effort to have 30percent of agricultural land in the hands of black farmers by 2014, Agriculture Minister Lulu Xingwana said in Cape Town yesterday.

Currently, black farmers own 4,7 percent of farm land, she said. "We are saying that if we acquire five million next year we will be on target." She thought this was "realistic" and said strategies previously used were being reviewed.

"We also need financial resources. The willing buyer, willing seller [principle] is not working. The public works minister is tabling the Expropriation Act, so we hope that with all these we can fast-track the process."

She hoped that half of the outstanding land claims would be settled by the end of this year. These were mostly rural claims held up by disagreements between tribal chiefs over where boundaries lay and white farmers disputing the validity of claims. Expropriation would be used to settle claims not finalised by the end of the year, she said. - Sapa

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