September 26, 2023

Parliament, Monday, 3 July 2023 – The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development concluded its public hearings on the Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land (PDAL) Bill in Waterberg District Municipality Limpopo yesterday where the Bill was supported by almost all residents.

There were, however, a few participants who told the committee that they partly support the Bill, but asked if game farming is part of agricultural activities or not, as the Bill classifies it with other general agricultural activities. This is confusing as game farming currently falls under the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE). Furthermore, game farming as part of wild biodiversity falls under the DFFE, while domestic biodiversity is under the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DAFF).

According to the Bill, ‘Agricultural Purposes’ means practices associated with the use of agricultural land for crop and animal production, keeping of animals, including wild animals, forestry and logging, fishing and aquaculture, including the use of land for structures, buildings and dwelling units reasonably necessary for, or related to, the agricultural use of land. This means that the Bill recognises the keeping of wild animals as an agricultural activity and there is now a need for clarity on whether game farming is an agricultural activity or a nature conservation activity.

The committee heard that there is a need for a decision to be made on the meaning of preservation. In terms of agriculture, preservation means a right to farm, make money and development, while preservation, according to the DFEE, means to preserve wild life. Game farmers who participated in the public hearings asked Parliament how this will be settled between the two departments. They told the committee that they want to be under the DAFF because, they said, they manage and produce wild life for the benefit of the people.

Some participants proposed that before the Bill can be implemented it should first be in line with the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) . This will enable those who are interested in securing land for agricultural purposes to easily do so.

The Acting Chairperson of the committee, Dr Manketsi Tlhape, said the PDAL Bill seeks to, among other things, entrench regulatory measures for the security of high potential agricultural land. It will promote a balanced approach to the use of agricultural land in South Africa. She said: “Currently we have an Act of 1970 called the Subdivision of Agricultural Land Act, that prohibits some divisions of agricultural land without the consent of the Minister. This is an old Act; there has really been so much development since 1970.

“We have what we call cooperative governance where municipalities, provincial government and national government must work together. If you have to get consent from national government it means there is no cooperative. This Bill seeks to close all these gaps,” Dr Tlhape added.

The committee will conduct public hearings on the Bill in Mpumalanga from 7 to 9 July 2023. The committee is conducting the public hearings to ensure that the final Bill reflects the views of the people and the affected stakeholders. Public participation is very important in the development and processing of legislation to ensure that laws that Parliament passes are progressive and responsive to the needs of every citizen and do not infringe on their rights.


For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact:

Name: Nolizwi Magwagwa (Ms)

Tel: 021 403 2465

Cell: 081 7165824


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *