Chairperson of Conference of Ministers
Members of the Conference of Ministers,
Chairperson of the Governing Council
Members of the Governing Council
Ladies and gentleman
I wish to express my gratitude to the Republic of Botswana for hosting the 11th Conference of Ministers meeting of the Regional Centre for Mapping of
Resources for Development (RCMRD). I thank the government and the people of Botswana for the hospitality accorded to me and my delegation since our arrival in this beautiful Country.
Chairperson, South Africa is taking bold steps in its quest not only to reverse the legacy of Apartheid but to engender programmes to accelerate the development of economic inclusivity, especially for the rural communities.
We have just held a successful Investor conference where we were inviting partnerships for investment both domestically and internationally.
Through the government intervention programmes, the emerging picture of the rural landscape is changing for the better and is today a far cry from the pre 1994 era.
These areas are gradually becoming strategic targets for private sector business expansion and this development augurs well for the rural communities as it brings along much needed injection of capital, investment and development which end rural poverty.
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform over and above regulating land reform is mandated with the responsibility to diversify the rural economy by introducing secondary and non-agricultural enterprises and integrate the rural areas into the mainstream economy and alleviate the scourge of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
Through enabling legislation, policies and creating conducive business environment, we are redirecting the creation of socio-economic opportunities for rural communities' full participation in the economy in an endeavour to close the wide inequality gap.
We remain alive to the reality that skills development is a crucial key for successfully turning the land we are restoring into productive and beneficial assets.
As we work towards an inclusive formal rural economy, post settlement support, start up support, capacity building and skills development to enhance indigenous knowledge has become are key area of focus.
Working together in a seamless cooperative governance of the three tiers of government, we are sparing no effort in moving South Africa forward!
Chairperson, South Africa has experimented with different land reform policy focus such as Willing Seller, Willing Buyer in the spirit of national reconciliation and engendering unity of the rainbow nation.
Whilst this have to a certain extent achieved social cohesion, it has, however, slowed the land reform progress and as a result, only 8% of land has so far been restored from a earmarked restoration target of 30% by 2014.
We have since introduced the Valuer General entity to determine the factual value of the land and other assets and a legal driven expropriation of land with just and equitable compensation as provided for in the current section 25 of the constitution.
Acceleration of land reform has now received a major boost with the democratic Parliament of South Africa last week Thursday (15th November 2018) voting in favour of amending Section 25 of the Constitution to pave the way for expropriation of land without compensation in some circumstances.
This issue has reached its conclusion after ten (10) months of public discourse.
Geo-information technologies are therefore at the heart of sustainable land use, allocation and preservation.
Furthermore, Geospatial or land information is critical to the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, as it is able to provide reliable data on land, including its tenure and dimensions, at local scales.
Ladies and gentlemen, through geospatial data we derive information that can help to answer many critical strategic, policy and service delivery questions as we confront the diverse challenges in our respective countries.
In South Africa, the rural spaces remain a priority hence we have adopted Vision 2030 of the National Development Plan (NDP).
Chairperson, in improving the administration of land reform and rural development, and transformation as a whole, in this year, eight pieces of legislation are at various stages of consultation and Parliamentary process before they can be assented to law by the President. The Land Survey Amendment Bill, Extension of Security of Tenure Amendment Bill, Electronic Deeds Registration System Bill, Deeds Registries Amendment Bill, Sectional Titles Amendment Bill, Regulation of Agricultural Land Bill, Communal Property Associations Amendment Bill and Communal Land Tenure Bill.
Chairperson, our country will continue to support the capacity building initiatives of the RCMRD where possible and also benefit its citizens through development programs that the Centre offers.
Through our member contribution we will ensure that we accelerate capacity building through training initiatives offered by the centre for our officials, from the three tiers of government, National, Provincial and local government and women and youth, with specific focus on young women to explore and expose them to opportunities in this area of work.
We have in the past reported that our Geomatics training programme is undergoing assessments by relevant authorities for accreditation. I am pleased to announce that we are now an accredited training institution. We still hope to offer this training to those neighbouring countries, who would be interested.
In conclusion, Chairperson, South Africa commits to supporting the incoming Chairperson of the Conference of Ministers and RCMRD in pursuing our common goals. We shall as a country, from time to time, continue to identify potential partnerships with both individual and collective Member States with the Centre as the critical anchor that brings us all together.
Chairperson, the main agenda for the 11th Conference of Ministers is to discuss the assessment and performance of the Centre for the 2015-2018 Strategic Plan periods that was adopted in Kenya four years ago and also agree on the way forward for the next four years.
The Centre has just reached 43 years of existence and as we discuss its past performance, we must begin to cast our eyes into the next forty-three years of our development. The Centre must be our cutting edge in determining such a future.
Working together with the Centre, we must continue to partner in sharing knowledge, protect and enhance our indigenous knowledge and exchange programmes with fellow member states for the benefit and sustainable development of our respective countries and Africa as a whole.
I THANK YOU ALL