President Jacob Zuma delivered his 10th State of the Nation Address (SONA) and the team at Fin24 delved a little deeper to verify some of the statements he presented.
Below is an extract form an article published by News24 on 1 March 2017:
John Purchase, CEO of the agricultural business chamber Agbiz, told Fin24 that saying “only eight million hectares of arable land have been transferred to black people, which is only 9.8% of the 82 million hectares of arable land in South Africa”, is technically not correct.
SA's surface is about 122 million hectares of which about 25 million hectares is in the hands of the state. It includes national parks, army land, communal land and parastatals like Eskom.
"The 82 million hectares referred to is actually the so-called commercial agricultural land on which mainly white farmers have title deeds - the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has an official figure of 86 million hectares. It is here where about 8 million hectares have been transferred to blacks by means of a so-called redistribution programme," said Purchase.
"However, it is wrong to call this 'arable land', because only about 16.7 million hectares of this has the potential to be arable. The rest is grazing areas - for instance in the Kalahari and Karoo - which make up the largest part of the 82 million hectares."
As for Zuma's statement that “to date, an estimated amount of R2.5bn was made available for the provision of livestock feed, water infrastructure, drilling, equipping and refurbishment of boreholes, auction sales and other interventions,” according to Agbiz, government may have spent R2.5bn on agriculture but practically all, if not all, was directed at especially smallholder and also developing black farmers, and very little at commercial agriculture. The way it was stated in the SONA was, therefore, misleading.
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