A total of 56 869 hectares of land in South Africa were allocated to different categories, with 34 156 hectares allocated to 34 women at an average of about 1000 hectares per female.
Highlighting progress in implementing the Beneficiary Selection and Land Allocation Policy (BSLAP), Gloria Mosito from Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development said for the past financial year 2020/2021, the department in aligning itself to the Gender Response Planning Guidelines and the BSLAP, targeted to allocate 11 987 hectares to females across the country under the Land Redistribution Programme. For Land Tenure Reform purposes, Mosito said the department managed to acquire 7 127 hectares in 2020/2021, which benefited a total of 450 individuals of which 238 were women.
The policy which was developed and adopted by government, aims to provide fair, credible and transparent process and criteria for selection of beneficiaries for land allocation and leasing of State properties; and to rekindle the class of Black commercial producers who were destroyed by the 1913 Land Act.
The policy proposes 50% allocation of agricultural farming land under the Redistribution Programme to smallholder farmers broken down as 50% to women, 40% to youth and 10% to people with disabilities. The land allocation includes women who either have basic farming skills or demonstrate willingness to acquire such skills; women headed households with no or very limited access to land, even for subsistence production shall be given access to land for the advancement of women.
From the youth, participants in the department’s enterprise development/ incubation/ apprenticeship programme and agricultural para-professionals, are targeted. People with disabilities with no or very limited access to land, even for subsistence production, and individuals with a disability who work in an agricultural setting still face challenges of access to land will be prioritised.
“Military veterans, as defined in the Military Veterans Act, 2011 (Act No 18 of 2011) shall also be prioritised. This shall, however, exclude those who served in the Union Defence Force prior to 1961, and the South African Defence Forces prior to 27 April 1994, who want to venture into farming will be assessed and prioritised for access to land for production.
“Communal and state land residents or individuals currently living on state-owned properties and whose livelihoods depend on subsistence farming, but have no form of tenure, should be prioritised for land allocation by the state,” Mosito explained.
In order to realise the policy objectives, Mosito said specific farms will continue to be reserved for women applicants and farms that are located in safer areas are to be targeted.
“Women will be assisted through Provincial Departments of Agriculture to compile credible business plan, in order to qualify for commercial farms; beneficiary selection process will run concurrently with the land acquisition process so that farms are immediately occupied upon acquisition to avoid invasions. The department is to develop a protocol that will empower women to have branding certificates issued in their names-furthermore, a section that deals with issuing of branding certificates is to be engaged in order to make provision for joint certificates where women are co-owners of livestock,” Mosito said.