'People need land for productivity'

Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma delivering the fourth annual National Development Plan (NDP) lecture at Unisa yesterday.
Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma delivering the fourth annual National Development Plan (NDP) lecture at Unisa yesterday.

What is perpetuating economic inequality is the continued lack of access to productive land for the majority.

This is according to minister in the presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who yesterday said that without people owning land, they cannot enjoy a dignified existence or achieve a meaningful level of productivity.

She was speaking at the National Development Plan annual public lecture at the University of SA in Pretoria where she gave an account of what the NDP (a government policy aimed at eradicating poverty and inequality by 2030) has achieved and what still needed to be done to eradicate inequality.

"It is for these reasons that the government is exploring mechanisms by which the redistribution of land can be
accelerated.

"We must therefore fast-track land redistribution to the benefit of our urban and rural masses," she said.

Dlamini-Zuma gave examples of countries that have implemented successful land
redistribution programmes as a sign that it can be done here.

"In most successful redistribution programmes, the common thread is the presence of accountable and transparent institutions," she said.

SA can for instance learn from the Ireland Land Commission that successfully transferred over 90% of the land from the English landlords to the Irish tenants, she said, as well as from the government of South Korea that successfully facilitated equitable land ownership in the 1940s, which created a new class of independent proprietors who were key in driving national development and growth in that country.

"Our people need land for agricultural, commercial, residential and recreational use in order to advance their own development.

"The state therefore has the responsibility to assist our citizens in land utilisation as well as spatial planning so as to ensure that there are Agri-Parks as well as development zones closer to where they live and work," she said.

Dlamini-Zuma also called for the advancement of radical economic transformation that would not exclude women.

"Women are not only more than half of the population but we also produce the other half," she said. "We cannot leave half of the population behind because it means we are leaving out half of our talent and therefore can never achieve our full potential.

"There is also a growing amount of evidence that shows that including women in companies at senior levels means better financial performance. Therefore, women and the youth need to form an integral part of transforming our economy."

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