Land distribution is failing

I AM happy that rural development and land reform director-general Thozi Gwanya has dismissed suggestions that the government will nationalise farm land or change the property rights clause in the Constitution.

There is a misconception among some South Africans that the government intends to nationalise land.

Land must be treated as importantly as water and forests. It is irresponsible to waste water because water is a national asset, even if it comes through a pipe to your private property and you pay for it. Land is just as important as mineral rights.

You cannot have land and not produce crops. The nation suffers when there is no food. Land must be used productively and it is all beneficiaries' duty to use it well.

Three reviews by the department shows that 50percent of all land redistributed since 1994 is not productive. Seventy-five percent of this needs attention.

Given the R70billion needed, the government has acknowledged that it cannot meet its target of redistributing 30percent of white-owed land by 2014 by buying it at market value.

So we are justified to ask: Can we continue like this? The government cannot keep giving land without making conditions.

The nation should discuss this issue and alternatives must be discussed too .

Some people will talk about nationalisation as a remedy and some will talk about privatisation and turning everything into commercial agriculture.

There had been calls to review the Constitution to facilitate land reform. This issue needs to be entertained. Section 25 of the Constitution protects citizens against the expropriation of private land, but it also provides guidelines on when the state may appropriate land and how it can compensate for it.

Tshepo Diale, Ga-Rankuwa