I’m pretty sure you don’t need further proof of the South African government’s complete and utter lack of respect for its citizens, but here we go anyway.
The land reform and land expropriation debate has divided many across the country, but the biggest sticking point may well be the mistrust in our politicians to handle the process with any form of integrity.
Now, in a really saddening report by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), we can see why that mistrust is warranted.
The report, first covered by Business Day, shows fraud “on an enormous scale”, and “recommends that 42 people, including the government officials, be prosecuted for fraud and corruption linked to land scams”.
BusinessTech have covered the basics of the report, which has handed over to President Ramaphosa in March 2018, but only just came to light after it submitted a Promotion to Access to Information Application (PAIA):
As part of the report, the SIU probed 148 land reform projects between 2011 and 2017, finding that a ‘complete lack of controls’ led to fraudulent activities on an enormous scale.
In one such project, grants were made available to beneficiaries to cover the costs of the acquisition of agricultural land.
These beneficiaries were then expected to stay and work on the farms they were given as a way of paying back some of the money they had received.
However, the SIU found that in many of these cases thousands of alleged beneficiaries were not even aware of the project and had never been to their farms.
Others had never lived or worked on a farm and did not qualify for grants.
While the report led to more than 24 farms valued at more than R382 million being forfeited to the state, most of those implicated by the report have not faced prosecution, with a National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson telling BusinessDay that investigations were still ongoing.
Where the NPA are involved, investigations are always seemingly ongoing, and then heads never roll – Duduzane Zuma is case in point.
A reminder of a rather eye-opening article by a Ugandan, who saw his country brought to his knees by a poorly thought-out and poorly executed expropriation without compensation strategy.
Given what’s due to happen in the coming months, this report of fraud really is cause for concern:
These land reform failures are likely to come under the spotlight as government prepares to introduce land expropriation without compensation.
At its last sitting in 2018, the National Assembly established an Ad Hoc Committee to initiate and introduce a constitutional amendment to allow for and expropriation without compensation and report back to the House by 31 March 2019.
While even the ANC has conceded that this deadline is ambitious if the bill is not completed, the party still wants a progress report from the Ad Hoc Committee.
Land reform and land expropriation carried out properly – winning.
Trusting our government to enact any such policies and amendments for the betterment of the people of South Africa – not likely.
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