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Achieving sustainable land reform through partnerships



In order to drive conversations on land reform in South Africa, the Vumelana Advisory Fund (Vumelana) recently hosted the second of a series of roundtable discussions which focused on partnerships for land reform as well as the role of the private sector and other stakeholders in fulfilling the targets of the National Development Plan (NDP) in the land reform programme.
Peter Setou, chief executive (CE) of Vumelana, a non-profit organisation, said, “These discussions are not just another policy debate about what is wrong; we are bringing together industry leaders to provide practical insights that will help in the implementation of the policies that have already been put in place. We have the right plans in place, we have the right policies in place, but not all stakeholders have come to the party to ensure that these policies and plans are taken to the ground to achieve the desired results.”

Land reform within the context of the NDP

Land reform within the context of the NDP aims to ensure that agricultural development and subsequent inclusive rural economic growth are achieved through the land reform process and that rural areas are integrated into the mainstream economy through agriculture.

Furthermore, the NDP acknowledges the important role of various models of land acquisition and redistribution to resolve the slow pace of land reform and the lack of successful implementation of policy at local level.

The NDP vision is that by 2030 we have integrated and included rural areas where residents are economically active and have food security, access to basic services, healthcare, and quality education. To achieve this, we require leadership in land reform, communal tenure security, and infrastructure and financial and technical support to farmers.

An integrated and inclusive approach to partnerships

Setou highlights that to achieve an integrated and inclusive rural economy, an integrated and inclusive approach to partnerships involving investors and operators with access to financial and other markets is required. Private capital and new land participants must be brought into the process to enable the mobilisation of resources and ensure sustainable benefits for land reform beneficiaries. “With under 13 years to go until 2030, a more aggressive approach to partnerships must be taken to help the government to effectively implement current land reform policies, all parties must come on board – private sector, government and non-governmental organisations alike.”

According to the NDP, agriculture has the potential to expand and create an additional one million jobs. While some progress has been made in the land reform programme, research findings show that a lot more needs to be done. Industry research shows that to date only eight million hectares of arable land have been transferred to black people, which is only 9.8% of the 82 million hectares of arable land in South Africa. It also shows that there has also been a 19% decline in households involved in agriculture, from 2.9 million households in 2011 to 2.3 million in 2016.

Mazwi Mkhulisi, programmes manager of Vumelana, said, “Community private partnerships (CPPs) present a plausible solution to addressing some of the current challenges in land reform. Community private partnerships are those that are established between private parties and communities that acquire access to land under the land reform programme. Typically, the communities bring their land and labour and the private partner brings capital and skills to the partnership. The role of collaborations with industry players cannot be underestimated.”

CPPs differ from management agreements insofar as the partners share the risks and the rewards. They also differ from typical joint ventures that demand 50:50 shareholding and risk-taking. CPPs are based on an assumption that the partners are unlikely to be equally capable of carrying risk and that the balance of risks, resources and rewards must be negotiated in the context of the particular circumstances of each case. CPP contracts are structured to ensure that the partners are able to meet their obligations and exercise their rights in a manner that supports the profitable operation of the business venture they enter into.

Mkhulisi argues that the adoption of the CPP programme provides an opportunity for the exploration of a different approach to land reform within the framework and in line with the recommendations of the NDP, to work towards achieving the targets that have been set out in the NDP.

Partnerships are probably the only way we can achieve sustainable land reform in this country because neither the government nor the private sector can do it on their own.

Financing in land reform is critical

According to Annelize Crosby, Agri SA policy advisor on land reform, partnerships are probably the only way we can achieve sustainable land reform in this country because neither the government nor the private sector can do it on their own. “Financing, social facilitation, and management of expectations are some of the key elements in the partnership relationship.

“The biggest role we can play in making land reform sustainable is ensuring that beneficiaries are part of the full value chain,” said Crosby. She highlighted that financing in land reform is critical, and remains a big challenge, as it is one of the things that still have not been sorted out. One way to address that would be through a special purpose vehicle instrument to help facilitate financing and development. Often some kind of a referee is necessary for the land reform relationship

The issue of trust

Chief Land Claims Commissioner Nomfundo Ntloko-Gobodo of the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights said, “One of the lessons that continue to come out in land reform relationships is the issue of trust. In the entire relationship cycle, communities must trust the government and the private partners with whom they form relationships, and that’s the aspect that takes a longer time than anything else.

“Previously we had challenges with private sector partners who partnered with communities with other agendas, for a quick fix and personal benefits and thought the process would be a mere hit and run. These people complicated the development dynamics.

“We are at a stage where we are seeking partners who understand the trust value that is needed by communities. We want to create sustainable partnerships with partners who will provide expertise that will take the land reform programme to the next level.”

Forming sustainable, long term relationships

Ntlok-Gobodo said, “Land reform is the responsibility of all of us as South Africans, therefore each sector has to identify its niche and expertise and bring those skills to the table for sustainability of all land reform projects to contribute towards the meaningful transformation of our country.

“Land reform is a heart matter and not a head matter because a lot has happened in this country and we need to redress, in the right manner, with the right partners who have the right attitude and agenda. If we get that right, we cannot go wrong.

“We want partners who will be in the relationship for the long run because land reform is not going to be a project that ends in 2030 or just a quick fix. It is going to be around for a very long time and will continue to affect the next generation into the future,” said Gobodo.

Evolving and adapting different models to meet the needs of the community

Speaking at the session, Anwhar Madhanpall of the South African Sugar Association highlighted that the South African sugar industry is the largest agricultural employer, representing direct employment of approximately 85,000 jobs, and indirect employment of an additional 350,000 jobs. This represents 11% of the total agricultural workforce in the country. Furthermore, approximately one million people, more than 2% of South Africa’s population, depend on the sugar industry for a living.

He noted that SASA has a number of projects from which learnings on partnerships can be drawn, including governance models to help build the capacity of leadership within CPAs to equip them with the necessary knowledge they need to run sustainable CPAs. “In order to achieve transformation in land reform, we have to consistently evolve and adapt different models to the needs of the community at the time, in order to adequately address their needs. Everything that we do in this space must be in the best interest of the community,” said Madhanpall.

Considerations that explore and enhance what has worked to date within land reform have the potential to assist in ensuring a successful and sustainable land reform programme for the future.

Information sharing and a hands-on-approach necessary

As one of the CPA’s that have benefitted from Vumelana’s support, Hezekiel Nkosi of the Moletele Communal Property Association shared some of his experiences as a beneficiary of the land reform programme. He highlighted that while the Moletele CPA is doing well in its partnership relationships, continuous learning about the industry and business of agriculture; as well as taking a hands-on approach in the process, is necessary to sustain the partnership, with trust being the key driver of the success of the relationship. He highlighted that “there needs to be a lot of information sharing with the community in order to create an understanding of what land ownership is about; this way, we will also effectively manage perceptions.”

“It is not only about more policies that we need to make a difference, we have to vigorously implement the current policies. What we need are practical and implementable solutions where all relevant parties are brought together to balance out the imbalances of the past. While the government can only do so much, it is time that the private sector really comes to the party too. Considerations that explore and enhance what has worked to date within land reform have the potential to assist in ensuring a successful and sustainable land reform programme for the future,” he said in closing.

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Nestlé ESAR announces industry-first pilot that reduces carbon dioxide emissions and recycles wastewater



Nestlé ESAR industry-first pilot launch (Image: Supplied)

In partnership with The Emissions Capture Company, Nestlé has successfully piloted leading machine learning-based technology in Babelegi, at industrial scale, to deliver significant Scope 1 emission reductions, and wastewater recycling.

Today, Nestlé – ESAR East and Southern Africa Region (ESAR) unveiled an industrial scale pilot project that has successfully tested a global-first, Artificial Intelligence technology in Africa that reduces emissions and saves water, at its Babelegi factory in Pretoria. The industrial scale pilot project is a partnership with The Emissions Capture Company (ECCO) using its proprietary WhiteBoxTM technology, a machine-learning based system that captures Scope 1 carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and recycles wastewater.

Speaking on the partnership, Saint-Francis Tohlang, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Director at Nestlé ESAR, said: “Our global commitment to reduce our impact on the environment influences every part of our business today. This partnership with ECCO demonstrates a significant evolution of our production processes to embrace circular principles at every step. We are extremely proud to be pioneering this industry-first technology on the African continent. This success takes us to the next phase, where we will be looking to scale this operation to other factories to deliver significant reductions in Scope 1 emissions in ESAR.”

The WhiteBoxTM set-up in Babelegi has been in successful operation for over 8,000 hours.  The technology captures CO2 from flue gas emissions, recycles industrial wastewater and creates sustainable green products. The green products can be sold directly (for animal feed, human food, consumer goods, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals) or used to eliminate sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions without the need for water. Data collected from the industrial scale pilot coupled with industry-first machine learning techniques, demonstrates that the WhiteBoxTM can be calibrated to capture between 25% to 70% of Scope 1 CO2 emissions and recycle available industrial wastewater per site. Much of this is done through direct air capture and energy-efficient gas processing, using low-fuel consumption methods.

“We are proud to have partnered with Nestlé in successfully demonstrating  the capabilities of our cutting-edge technology set. ECCO uses green chemistry and Artificial Intelligence to extract CO2 from emissions, using it as an ingredient in everyday products. This partnership helps pave the way for a green economy. Our approach was holistic, ensuring that pollution remediation was key, along with other considerations such as water recycling and low fuel consumption. By design, the shift from legacy technologies to low carbon emission processes also improves livelihoods through employment creation, training, and upskilling,” says Thomas F Darden, ECCO’s CEO and founding board member of William McDonough’s Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute and board member for Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy.

“The industrial scale pilot project directly upskilled and employed 15 people from the local community and has the potential to create more jobs when scaled.  Part of the operation has also included skills development for the rest of our staff at the facility to ensure a just transition to low emission operations, with no one left behind,” concluded Tohlang.

ECCO’s WhiteBoxTM joins several ongoing long-term projects under Nestlé’s RE sustainability initiative, that reinforces the company’s sustainability initiatives, strategies as well as its resources to help mitigate sustainability challenges such as waste reduction.



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Nestlé launches RE Pilot Project to empower informal waste reclaimers in Tembisa, Gauteng



In celebration of National Recycling Week and Let’s Do It World Clean-up Day 2021, Nestlé East & Southern Africa Region joined forces with Kudoti, a waste tech start-up, to launch its ‘RE-Imagine Tomorrow’ pilot project in Tembisa to demonstrate how the circular economy is a viable solution for tackling the waste problem.

By working with Kudoti and Destination Green, the implementation partner and buy back centre, Nestlé will enable 100 waste reclaimers to use technology to track the amount of waste collected and find buyers through Kudoti’s technology platform and network. The waste collectors will be empowered and trained on how to make an income and will receive a monthly stipend through a subsidy by Nestlé.  Training will include business and finance education to equip the waste reclaimers to further boost their incomes along with the provision of physical resources such as protective gear.  One of the other elements contributed by Nestlé will be the purchase of a forklift to further assist the operation in the long run.

The ‘RE-Imagine Tomorrow’ pilot project will be a phased intervention for the community of Mqantsa, Tembisa. The beginning of the phase is about awakening a focused increase of waste collection through the informal waste reclaimers. Engage will include educating the community on rethinking their relationship with waste and reducing their own waste footprint.  Finally, the sustain phase will bring to life repurposing by creating beauty out of waste for the benefit of the community through public furniture created from the waste collected. The circular economy model aims to use waste streams as secondary resources and recover waste for reuse and recycling. This approach is expected to achieve efficient economic growth while minimising negative environmental impact.

Saint-Francis Tohlang, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Director at Nestlé East and Southern Africa Region (ESAR),adds . “Informal waste reclaimers play an important role in the management of waste. It is important that we appreciate their role as heroes and find ways in which we can empower them further as we strive for a waste free future. This pilot project is part of our broader RE sustainability initiative which focuses on the pillars of rethink reduce and repurpose. Through working with a tech start-up, waste collectors, recyclers and the community, we believe we are engaging key stakeholders in the waste management cycle to be able to RE-imagine tomorrow. We hope that through this pilot project our partners and the community of Tembisa will see that there are opportunities that can be found in what we see as waste.”

The RE initiative encourages society to RETHINK, REDUCE and REPURPOSE. The RETHINK pillar is about encouraging broader society to rethink its relationship with the environment. Nestlé will educate the public about ways to change their behaviour to serve the environment through responsible practices such as recycling. The REDUCE pillar highlights Nestlé’s commitment towards reducing its environmental impact to zero carbon emissions by 2030. Lastly, the REPURPOSE pillar focuses on upcycling and reusing materials which are crucial to driving a circular economy.

“Through this initiative, we hope to drive a paradigm shift by formulating and implementing solutions that will safeguard the environment. We hope that initiatives such as RE will encourage people not only in Tembisa, but across the country, to play their part and RETHINK, REDUCE and REPURPOSE,” concluded Tohlang.

Members of the community and over 20 waste reclaimers, along with Nestlé, Kudoti, Destination Green and members of the media took part in a clean-up in Mqantsa, Tembisa on the day to strengthen its collective contribution to a waste-free future for the community.



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Innovative partnerships needed to tackle climate related disasters



Drought Image (Supplied)

The devastating crisis in Madagascar sounds a stark warning of the need to take urgent action for Africa according to Ibrahima Cheikh Diong, Director General of the African Risk Capacity Group.

“Drought may well be the next pandemic after COVID-19 and there’s no vaccine to cure it.” If the words of Mami Mizutori, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction don’t compel us to take immediate action, Africa will continue to bear the scars of barren wastelands caused by climate change-induced drought. Southern Africa, East Africa, the Horn of Africa and now Madagascar are just the start. The short-term solution to building resilience requires a multi-faceted approach involving both private and public sectors, says Diong.

“Our affiliate, ARC Ltd, which recently received a BBB+ Insurer Financial Strength rating from Fitch, works with governments, NGOs and funders to provide customised parametric insurance. This  empowers African governments and NGOs to respond swiftly to natural disasters on the continent, but there’s a lot of work that needs to go into building distribution networks to ensure that we can reach as many people as possible. We need to build a coalition of the private and public sector,” Diong adds.

While governments are key in dealing with resilience to climate change, it’s the ability of the private sector to take action that will make all the difference, he says.

“Partnerships should extend beyond governments. The private sector is an essential partner for leveraging funding and experience demonstrates that private-sector entities are capable of rapidly taking up opportunities when and if these make sense from a business angle.”

There are several examples where a collaborative approach is already working well. Diong cites ARC Group’s partnerships with organisations such as the Start Network and World Food Programme (WFP), and funders such as the German Development Bank, UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and African Development Bank which are working to provide that resilience for African countries.

Shifting the disaster risk architecture

Emily Jones, as Climate and Disaster Risk Financing Advisor for WFP, highlights the challenges of convincing authorities to be more proactive than reactive when preventing human suffering and hardship when events like drought occur.

“Unfortunately, no one person or organisation can make the necessary shift alone. Change starts with building resilience and insurance plays a significant role in that, particularly in climate change,” says Jones.

Governments pay a premium every year and receive their agreed-upon pay-out if and when a predicted disaster occurs. “This money can then be used to help those people affected, with the remainder of the pay-out going towards covering other consequences that might not have been expected, such as conflict or a loss of progress in terms of important local development projects,” she says.

“Humanitarians are working on highlighting the need to predict crises and act before they manifest in an effort to avoid human suffering. After all, why wait if you don’t have to?”

Jones speaks about how most authorities in African countries perceive insurance as a gamble when it should rather be seen as a risk management tool. Unfortunately, many simply don’t have the necessary tools available to plan, which is where ARC comes in.

“It’s amazing that ARC Limited is offering this type of insurance. However, insurance is really only cost-effective for catastrophic events that happen infrequently – perhaps once every 10 years – and if the governments that they’re selling the insurance to don’t have other solutions, they’re going to be taking out insurance that’s less than optimal,” Jones explains.

“So, something that WFP, ARC, and the African Development Bank wants to work on in the coming years is a risk-layering approach. This would involve introducing other tools for coping with those medium-scale events so that we can optimise ARC and hopefully offer better products, as well as ensure improved buy-in, a greater understanding of the products’ importance, and a track record of success,” she adds.

Responding swiftly to natural disasters

Since ARC Limited was established in 2014, the company has paid out $65-million in drought-relief efforts to seven different countries.

“In particular, the collaboration between the African Development Bank and ARC shows how coming together makes a major difference. In 2020, the ARC drought-relief pay-outs to Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Côte d’Ivoire totalled $6-million,” says Diong.

Madagascar received a payment of over $2,1-million, which was allocated to food assistance for 15,000 households, nutritional support to 2,000 children and 1,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women, and water supplies to over 84,000 households.


Reaching the most vulnerable, however, is difficult, adds Malvern Chirume, Chief Underwriting Officer ARC Limited.  “One of the big challenges is access to the final customer, bearing in mind that most of our beneficiaries of the programmes are small- to medium-scale farmers and therefore it’s not cost-effective to access them one at a time.” 

With climate change, we can expect extreme weather events to hit harder and more frequently in coming years. In a 1.5 degree warmer world, there is no doubt that drought will be a more regular event.

The GAR Special Report on Drought 2021 launched earlier this year is a call to action: we must act now if we are to meet the goals of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and create a safer, more resilient, risk-proofed future for all.

“Drought is not something that hits us suddenly, nor something that we can quarantine our way out of. Drought manifests over months, years, sometimes decades, and the results are felt just as long. Drought exhibits and exacerbates the social and economic inequalities that are deep-rooted within our systems and hits the most vulnerable the hardest,” says Chirume.

“While we may not be able to prevent it, we can certainly be prepared to deal with its impact by building resilience and providing swift support to those who are left vulnerable.”

Issued by ARC Limited

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