The Ministry of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) was created in 2009. For the first time in its history, the country would have a ministry dedicated to the social and economic development of rural South Africa; committed to ensuring that South Africans residing in rural areas enjoyed the same benefits as their urban cousins, so that that they too were covered by the blanket of human rights and basic dignity guaranteed in our Constitution.
Following its establishment, the new ministry immediately embarked on an intensive process to define and conceptualise what rural development should be, and to provide a framework of how it should be implemented. Government’s plan for developing rural areas, the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) is aimed specifically at curing the blight of poverty by the creation of vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities.
To achieve its vision, the new department defined its role and mission as being that of facilitating integrated development and social cohesion through partnerships with all sectors of society. The most important strategy the department pursues to deliver on the CRDP’s strategic objectives is, Agrarian Transformation.
Objectives of the agrarian transformation strategy include (but are not limited to):
- Social mobilisation to enable rural communities to take initiatives;
- Sustainable settlements (access to basic services and economic opportunity; meeting of basic human needs; infrastructure development);
- Establishment of cooperatives and enterprises for economic activities; wealth creation; productive use of assets;
- Non-farm activities for strengthening of rural livelihoods;
- Leadership training, social facilitation and familiarity with CRDP objectives; socio-economic independence.
- Skills development and employment creation (youth, women, people living with disabilities);
- Democratisation of rural development, participation and ownership of all processes, projects and programmes by rural communities;
- Co-ordination, alignment and cooperative governance (Local Municipalities, Traditional Councils, Provincial Government and rural communities);
- Participation of Non-Governmental Organisations including faith-based organisations, Community- Based Organisations and other organs of civil society;
- Social cohesion and access to human and social capital.
The key mandate of the former Department of Land Affairs has been made an integral part of the Agrarian Transformation System, and the programme forms part of a three-legged strategy which aims to ensure that the department achieves its objectives.
The first leg - sustainable land and agrarian transformation: The aim is to increase agricultural production through the optimal and sustainable use of natural resources and appropriate technologies to ensure food security, dignity and improved rural livelihoods. This will subsequently lead to vibrant local economic development.
The second leg - rural development: This focus is on improving both economic infrastructure (such as roads, community gardens, food production, fencing for agriculture, etc.) and social infrastructure (e.g., communal sanitation, and non-farming activities). To successfully achieve this, ownership of processes, projects and programmes is vital.
The third leg - land reform based on restitution, redistribution and land tenure reform: Deliberate and intensified post-settlement support is available to ensure that land transferred to black South Africans contributes to the fight against poverty, by ensuring food security and underpinning economic and social transformation in rural areas. Land reform remains critical to the comprehensive development of South Africa’s rural areas and the government’s recapitalisation and development of land reform projects, currently in distress, bears testimony to this.
- To roll out the CRDP to all rural municipalities;
- To improve productivity in land reform projects through effective implementation of the Recapitalisation and Development Programme (RADP);
- To expedite the finalisation of land claims;
- To improve corporate governance and ensure enhanced service delivery;
- To implement proper change management and innovation strategies; and
- To enhance the efficiency of information management systems.
Through the implementation of this strategy, the department aims to achieve its goal of social cohesion.
This Mid-term Review highlights the progress of the department in implementing its strategy and achieving its objective.