Hon Speaker, across all spheres of government departments, municipalities, and state-owned companies play various and differentiated roles as custodians of state-owned land and property assets. Within the framework of applicable legislation and prescripts, they all have the responsibility to ensure that state-owned land and property assets are managed, deployed and disposed of, to unlock economic value to support our development and service delivery goals.
Currently, there are various models implemented across government and state- owned companies to ensure that state land and property assets are utilised in a manner that supports fiscal revenue streams, public infrastructure development, spatial development planning, new investments and growth expansions.
Having said that, hon Speaker, the strategic management of state-owned land, and property assets is key to unlocking economic growth and development to advance socioeconomic transformation. Across all spheres of government and state-owned companies, land and properties are held to meet current and future service delivery and developmental needs.
Without access to land for productive use, there can be no development. Without land for building enabling infrastructure networks, such as roads, telecommunications, and bulk water reticulation, there can be no meaningful development.
In addition to state-owned land parcels, government has, over the years, invested in a huge portfolio of economic
infrastructure, buildings and houses, some of which remain as we speak underutilised and inadequately maintained.
Where land and properties are underutilised, and in excess to the requirements for originally intended developmental use, they must be released for alternative use in a manner that will unlock the country's growth potential.
Within the framework of applicable prescripts and policies, state-owned land and immovable assets must be deployed, managed, and disposed of in a way that ensures full realisation of inherent economic value.
The release of state-owned land must serve the public interest, and the long-term spatial development plans to deal with growth and future settlement expansions. Land invasions and uncontrolled settlements growth are unsustainable. That is why land must be proactively released to address this challenge, especially in our major cities.
We must urgently deal with the problem of underutilised and derelict government-owned buildings which are susceptible to hijacking by criminal syndicates. The release of these buildings for productive economic use is critical.
As we mentioned last week in this House, government is taking a holistic approach to the release, and redistribution of state-owned land and properties to address current and future developmental priorities.
As part of accelerating our land reform, government has prioritised intervention measures that will unlock strategically located land for redistribution to support agricultural production, human settlements and industrial development.
The release of state-owned land will address the need to build human settlements, especially in urban and peri- urban spaces to deal with population growth and the rising demand for new public infrastructure investment for the provision of road, water and sanitation.
Alongside this, we will prioritise the identification and the release of underutilised state buildings that may be utilised or converted into modern areas of accommodation.
More essentially, government-owned land must be used to leverage and attract private sector investment in priority areas of economic growth to address poverty and unemployment challenges. Government has prioritised the development of Special Economic Zones and industrial parks on state-owned land to promote investments and industrialisation in targeted areas.
Where economic infrastructure and assets remain underutilised, especially in the former homeland areas, national government is working with provincial and local spheres of government to revitalise these assets, and provide business support infrastructure and services. This is intended to attract investments, and support the participation of new small and medium-sized enterprises into the mainstream economy.
The private sector can play an important role in unlocking the value of public land and property assets
through sale, lease, or joint venture development projects. For instance, public private partnerships in the management of heritage properties and biodiversity conservation land assets can unlock the injection of private capital and expertise to support local economies and community development.
Through the sales, concessions or lease arrangements, government can unlock revenue streams to deal with some of its fiscal pressures. This would allow government to direct revenue streams from such assets to infrastructure investment and other service delivery priorities.
One of the lessons from our work on land reform is that there is a critical need for better institutional co- ordination in the effective and efficient management of state-owned land and property assets. Our management systems and operating platforms are not integrated and seamless to provide a single view of the country's composite balance sheet of state-owned land and property assets across all spheres of government and state-owned companies.
This leads to poor monitoring of utilisation by the custodians of these assets. In the process, the abuse of state land and properties for self- gain creeps in undetected.
In the medium to long-term, we need to integrate and streamline our systems to establish a common set of intergovernmental norms for records and inventories of state-owned land and property assets across the country.
Decisions on state-owned and property assets must be based on clearly articulated development priorities, which are guided by the National Spatial Development Perspective. Any unco-ordinated, unguided disposal or transactions on the state land and property assets may undermine the national interest and our commitment to the public good principle. Thank you, hon Speaker. [Applause.]