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LARC attends Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform Colloquium

14 Mar 2019 - 10:30

Zenande Booi and Nokwanda Sihlali attended the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture on the 22 - 23 of February 2019. The event was well attended by officials and ministers from the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform and Department of Justice and Correctional services. Other participants at the colloquium were the business sector, the big banks, the land Bank, AgriSA and other representatives from AgriBusiness. The conversation centred on developing a market centred, private sector funded and FDI driven land reform project. Even though there were political party representatives there to engage on their land reform ideas, they were unable to articulate their plans without resorting to some form of market centred vision to alleviate poverty and the issue of landlessness in South Africa. It was disheartening however that civil society had to forcefully occupy the space as they were not accommodated for because of "austerity" measures. On the second day of the colloquium they civil society representatives staged a protest against what they could see was not a people focussed and Bill of Rights centred land reform programme. The chair, Dr. Vuyo Mahlathi, welcomed the dissenting voices, but explained that they had already consulted civil society at an event held at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in the same week. This "consultation" however is not enough, as the Presidential Panel has already met with the traditional leaders in a separate and dedicated colloquium, we know that beyond civil society, community members from all 9 provinces deserve the same consideration and honour.