Key Points:

  • The land restitution crisis is a dimension of land reform which has been pushed into the background because of the debate around expropriation without compensation. This short CDE report provides business leaders an overview of the key issues, the reasons restitution has been slow, and the implications of this has for economic growth.
  • The resolution of the restitution backlog should be the first priority for successful land reform because it lays at the root of so many other problems in virtually all regions of the country.
  • In 2018 Treasury’s modelling estimated that the new claims already lodged will take 200 years to conclude at a cost of approximately R600 billion. If the process of lodging new claims is re-opened, a total of 397,000 new claims will possibly be made and could take 709 years to finalise.
  • The cumbersome and compromised restitution process has restricted the potential for economic growth in key areas of the country. Unresolved claims dragging on for decades discourage farmers from investing in the land and pursuing new economic opportunities.
  • Business needs a common approach. Until significant progress is achieved on this front, the considerable potential for black and white farmers to boost job creation and economic growth will not be fully realized.
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