Sugar land claims are 'too slow'

Sowetan Reporter

Sowetan Reporter

The initiative of the South African sugar industry to transfer at least 30percent of sugar-cane land into black hands by 2015 is steadily gaining momentum.

But, the slow pace at which land claims are being dealt with is hampering transformation efforts.

Chairman of the South African Sugar Association, Roger Stewart, said 17percent of sugar-cane land has already been transferred to black sugar-cane farmers largely in terms of the "willing buyer, willing seller arrangement".

If land under sugar cane on communally-owned tribal areas was added to this figure, 29,5percent of all land under sugar cane was already black-owned or black-controlled.

"A recent survey showed that of the 54percent sugar industry freehold land that has been gazetted for land claims, only 7percent has been settled. This leaves the remaining 47percent of freehold land under a cloud of uncertainty.

"A further major concern is that some successful beneficiaries of land reform through the Land and Agricultural Redevelopment Programme grants are themselves the subjects of land claims," Stewart said.

This could reverse the progress to sustainable production made by the sugar industry in meeting the land reform target by 2015."