Municipalities and provinces must stop selling state land that the national government gave to them free of charge.
That was the warning given by Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille on Sunday when she announced that her department had already released thousands of acres of state land over the past ten months.
This land, she said, should be used especially for the construction of integrated housing to help those who have been on housing waiting lists for many years, but also to undo the “malicious legacy of town planning from the apartheid era”.
De Lille’s announcement comes after Deputy President David Mabuza also convened the inter-ministerial committee on land reform in Cape Town on Friday to determine progress in speeding up the land reform process.
Mabuza, chairman of the inter-ministerial committee, said that between March and December this year, the government plans to release about 700,000 hectares of land for the above goals to beneficiaries in all nine provinces.
De Lille said in a statement on Sunday that her department, since the Cabinet approved it in October last year, has already released about 167 pieces of state land of a total of 14 105 hectares.
“The department has so far also processed the release of an additional 648 hectares of land for housing developments.”
According to her, the exempt land is subject to various administrative processes and conditions.
“Land transferred by the human settlements department should not be sold to the private sector. The national government should be given the first choice to buy it back.
“We need to stop the trend where land released for free by the national government to municipalities and provinces for a profit by them.”
According to De Lille, a database will also be created of state land owned by provinces and municipalities “so that all spheres of government can plan and produce land together”.