Unemployment poses a significant challenge in South Africa, particularly impacting young people and women. However, careful and methodical execution of the land reform programme has the potential to address vital community challenges such as skills development, access to finance and markets, youth unemployment and poverty.
The Mamahlola Communal Property Association (CPA) in Limpopo stands as a prime example of a community where the positive impact of land reform on job creation is evident. The CPA’s success highlights the effects of a methodological partnership facilitated by the Vumelana Advisory Fund, the non-profit organisation’s community-private partnership (CPP) model.
In 2017, Vumelana facilitated a community-private partnership between the Mamahlola Communal Property Association (CPA), and its private investor Serala Estate in the Mamahlola district in Limpopo. The partnership deal is worth R120 million. Through the partnership, the investor and the CPA work together to produce soft citrus, avocado and macadamia nuts on 370 hectares of the CPA’s 1 600 hectares of land.
Land reform can succeed
Today the CPA employs just over 166 members of the community on the farm. These jobs indirectly impact the lives of over 1 300 beneficiary households – who are members of the CPA.
Furthermore, the partnership has been crucial in stimulating the local economy and driving the growth of small and medium businesses in the vicinity.
Masilu Modiba, chairperson of Mamahlola CPA says, “Since the community reclaimed ownership of the land in 2001, the Mamahlola CPA has made remarkable strides.”
“We have successfully generated employment opportunities for a lot of our community members, empowering many of our members through diverse skills development programmes and providing financial assistance for further education for children in the community.”
Growing land enterprises
These achievements highlight how land reform can succeed when communities have the right partners to work with to help them grow their land enterprises, Modiba said.
He adds that through the partnership with Serala Estate, the CPA has been able to effectively maximise the potential of their land to generate income and create much-needed jobs, to uplift the entire community.
“It is also worth emphasising the invaluable support provided by Vumelana in facilitating this partnership, as it has played a crucial role in providing post-settlement support. This support has been instrumental in enabling us to use our land productively,” he said.
Positive impact on communities
Since the community regained ownership of its land in 2001, the Mamohlola CPA has accomplished remarkable milestones.
They have successfully generated employment opportunities for the community while also prioritising the personal and professional growth of its members.
In addition, they have implemented diverse skills development programmes and provided essential financial support to empower individuals in pursuing further education.
Furthermore, the CPA has implemented a commendable programme that recognises the accomplishments of its members’ children. The CPA has contributed computer equipment and other resources to five local schools in Metz, near Tzaneen, to assist them with their education requirements.
In addition, the CPA contributes complementary school uniforms to the top five achievers in three primary schools – from primary school until they matriculate. The CPA also provides funding for school excursions. The CPA covers university registration fees for students who successfully pass their matric with a tertiary mark.
“These initiatives showcase the success of the partnerships that we have formed and the impact that successful land reform can have in the lives of our community members and more so, our youth,” says Modiba.
Employment rate needs land reform
The achievements of the Mamahlola CPA serve as a testament to the transformative power of partnerships between private sector investors and land reform beneficiaries; and the impact of careful and methodical execution of the land reform programme.
These partnerships not only enable the productive use of reclaimed land but also address vital community challenges such as youth unemployment and poverty.
The first quarter of the 2023 Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) by Stats SA revealed alarming statistics, with an unemployment rate having increased by 0.2% from 32.7% in the fourth quarter of 2022 to 32.9% in the first quarter of 2023.
The unemployment rate according to the expanded definition decreased by 0.2% from 42.6% in the fourth quarter of 2022 to 42.4% in quarter one of 2023.
These figures underscore the pressing need for comprehensive measures to address the high unemployment rates in the country, particularly among the youth and women.
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