Crooked folk to blame for slow land reform

IT IS amazing that when farmers sell land to one another the land is priced fairly, but when they know government is buying, then the price escalates.

It has been said that there is collusion when the government wants to buy land and this hampers land reform. So the question of willing seller willing buyer becomes distorted.

This was the case when there was a rights-based land claim, which government had to recognise. The collusion in this case was not confined to land owners, but also to estate agents, valuers and even our own government officials, who are supposed to prevent such misconduct and corruption.

There are instances where the government found officials inflating land prices when government was the buyer.

Such officials need to be dealt with harshly . We need to send out a strong message that anyone found guilty of such conduct would face severe punishment because the money they are squandering belongs to the poor people of this country.

There are people who believe incorrectly that land reform is the quickest way to make a quick buck.

These are the people who are responsible for prolonging the process of land reform because the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has to spend money to take these individuals to court instead of using the money for land reform.

We need to stop these lengthy court proceedings. We need to blow the whistle on the people who are committing this action. It is in the country's interest to do that.

And it does not matter if the person is a government official, a valuer or a farmer. They need to be brought to book.

Tshepo Diale, GaRankuwa

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