Inyanda National Land Movement and the Trust for Community Outreach and Education see the 2018 National Budget as a direct attack on the poor, an increase in VAT to 15% and the fuel levy increase will directly affect food security - making millions more vulnerable and the poor of South Africa, will bear the brunt of an increase in food prices and public transport costs. The Minister claims to provide “social protection” for poor households with an incremental R100 increase for old age, disability and care dependency grants as well as a R30 increase in child support grant – we doubt this will cover the increase in the cost of living imposed through these taxes.
We certainly welcome the proposed increased expenditure on free higher education, first year students from families with a household income below R350 000 will have their first year of study free and NSFAS loans for 2018 will be converted into a bursary - this will surely benefit the poor!
We celebrate the R10.8 billion set side to finalize the outstanding restitution land claims but are completely at odds with the R4.2 billion allocation for the acquisition of 291 000ha of strategically allocated land. How does this square up with the SONA promise of land expropriation without compensation? The acceleration of land redistribution through acquisition of land through the current allocation fails to anticipate the reaction of property markets. We are cautious about how this will be implemented because government sees 50/50 settlements as attractive and easily attainable, yet it has disastrous outcomes for beneficiaries. Furthermore, we are concerned about restitution budgets being swallowed in the administration processes rather than actual resettlement of communities on land under claim. We guard against expropriation without compensation as just another political ploy to remain relevant!
The Minister also indicates that they will create 450 sustainable Black commercial producers in line with Operation Phakisa in the agriculture, fishing, forests, rural development and land reform - will this translate into more Australian mining companies coming to the Eastern Cape coast line to destroy our environment and explore for minerals?
We disagree with the cut back on key services that impact directly on the poor (especially the rural poor) where services are already in a state of collapse, municipalities in the Eastern Cape are barely able to fix roads and service crumbling water infrastructure.
As a land rights movement of small scale farmers, fishers, farm workers and forest workers, we find a complete disjunction between the promises of rebuilding agriculture and the projections and allocations in the budget statement. We commit to advancing the rights of the rural poor to access to land, food sovereignty, and dignified life off the earth.
For more information and comment contact:
Limpopo Province – Mr Adam Mabunda (Mopani Farmers’ Association) and member of the Inyanda National Council
Tel: 073 642 8041
Western Cape Province – Ms Denia Jansen (Mawubuye Land Rights Forum) and member of the Inyanda National Council
Tel: 078 983 4243
Eastern Cape Province – Dr Fani Ncapayi (Cala University Students Association) and member of the Inyanda National Council
Tel: 047 877 0204 or 082 440 6067
Prof Lungisile Ntsebeza – NRF Research Chair in Land Reform and Democracy in South Africa at the University of Cape Town, and member of the Board of Trustees of the Trust for Community Outreach and Education (TCOE)
Tel: 021 650 3503 Cell: 082 900 9186
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