Sun. Nov 17th, 2019

Land expropriation has a new boss, meet Thoko Didiza

thoko didizaThe new authority on issues such as land expropriation.

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With Thoko Didiza anointed as the head of the newly-merged Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform, one of the important tasks on her agenda will be to oversee the impending land expropriation without compensation procession.

As reported by EWN, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced, on Wednesday evening, that after many consultations with key figures in the political and private sphere, a unanimous decision was reached to shrink the Cabinet.

Related: Cabinet announcement: Five of the biggest surprises from Cyril’s shake-up

Why did Ramaphosa merge certain Cabinet departments?

One way to do this was by merging certain ministerial portfolios. This, according to the president, would allow for a more focused approach in applying transformative policies where they are needed the most.

The merged ministerial portfolios include;

  • The department of trade industry and department of economic development;
  • The department of higher education and the department of science and technology;
  • The department of environmental affairs and the department of forestry and fisheries;
  • The department of agriculture and the department of rural development and land reform;
  • The department of mineral resources and the department of energy;
  • The department human settlements and department of water and sanitation;
  • The department of sports and the department of arts and culture.

Related: Business leadership organisations smile at Ramaphosa Cabinet picks

Who is Thoko Didiza?

The appointment of Didiza to the newly-merged ministry was welcomed all-round. Freedom Front Plus (VF Plus) leader, Dr Pieter Groenewald, noted that this was one of the positives taken from Ramaphosa’s selection.

“The appointment of Thoko Didiza as Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land reform is also welcomed. She has prior experience and has shown herself to be competent to manage the portfolio,” he wrote in a statement.

Her work experience

Didiza has held the Agriculture and Land Affairs portfolio before. This was in former president Thabo Mbeki’s administration, between 1999 and 2006.

Her vast experience and understanding of the complexities faced by South Africa in these merged disciplines will go a long way in assisting the sensitive transformation of land ownership.

She already has been playing a critical role in the issue of land expropriation.

Why she’s perfect for overseeing land expropriation

In February, Didiza was elected to chair Parliament’s portfolio committee on land reform, as it drafted the Bill that will, essentially, affect change to Section 25 of the Constitution.

Do not think that she is a push-over either. Naughty politicians like the EFF’s Julius Malema will know her very well from the respect she has commanded as House chairperson of the National Assembly.

Related: “You can’t fool South Africa” – DA reacts to Cabinet selection

Dr Oscar van Heerden from the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflections (MISTRA) told Food For Mzansi that her expansive experience in land reform will lend itself perfectly in dousing the mounting worries about land expropriation in commercial agriculture.

“I think that farmers are very worried about that issue and that is one of the pressing issues for her. One, is to allay fears around the issue of land expropriation, particularly with arable land and farms, because that’s obviously one element of land reform.

“That’s something that we’d have to engage with white farmers, in particular, to try and allay fears and say that we operate within a ruled, spaced environment. We are going to do it as the president has indicated in a particular manner, so that all parties feel satisfied,” he said.

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