Land reform must be put back on track

MUCH still needs to be done to achieve the aims of the land reform programme.

It has become evident that the government cannot do this alone. It is critical that all role players come on board because land reform is everybody's business.

Government also needs an audit of the scale and targets for the demand of land as well as the needs of rural communities. An audit will help clarify the needs for residential and agricultural purposes and those who need land for both these purposes. People must be able to approach the government for help to acquire land to farm or and live on. Provision should be made for training people to be farmers since providing land without farming knowledge will be counterproductive. Assistance should be given regarding seeds, pesticides, credit facilities and marketing.

The government needs to make a financial commitment to meet the development needs of the rural areas.

The lack of capacity for delivery is serious and needs decisive government intervention.

Technical training is crucial for sustainable skills since the assistance of consultants is linked to financial gain. Consultants are often not available when problems arise after a project has been established.

Also, political commitment is needed to resolvetraditional leadership issues. Involving traditional leaders will make land redistribution inclusive and will resolve current perceptions and mistrust. Decisions of whether to include or exclude traditional leaders should be made by rural people because they should have a say in decisions that affect them.

Tshepo Diale, Ga-Rankuwa