Principled negotiations and a coherent policy are what’s needed to successfully implement land reform. – Prof David Venter

Principled negotiations and a coherent policy are what’s needed to successfully implement land reform. – Prof David Venter

Transformation and land reform in South Africa has progressed at a snail’s pace, mainly due to the absence of a coherent national policy and commitment from all parties involved.


“Land reform is an emotive issue that defies rationality. However, with the right mindset from all involved, it can unlock great opportunities,” said prof David Venter, negotiations specialist, at the annual Nedbank VinPro Information Day in Cape Town yesterday.


Discussions surrounding land reform has up until now been characterised by a positional bargaining approach, which according to Venter is not conducive to obtaining a workable solution. Each party – from their extreme positions – focus on winning and claiming value, with little regard for maintaining relationships. In contrast, a model of principled negotiation could result in a win-win situation, as it is based on finding common interests to create value.


Venter urged industry and government to set apart self-interest reasoning to create trust, and to aspire towards developing innovative, equitable and sustainable solutions going forward. “We should stop standing with our backs to the future trying to set apartheid right – it’s not going to happen!”


Other factors for success include exploring different tenure models, identifying black South Africans best suited to commercial farming and establishing mentorships and shared resource models. Available land for sale also needs to be identified and innovative financing models developed.


“Most importantly, celebrate the successes, amplify and proactively build on them,” said Venter.


Rico Basson, MD of VinPro, reiterated this by highlighting that the wine industry has around 60 land reform projects, and between 30 to 40 black-owned wine companies. “We need to focus on what we have now and build on that.”


A strategic Transformation Plan is an outcome of the Wine Industry Strategic Exercise (Wise), through which the industry aims to grow black-owned land and water to 20% in 2025. The industry has also appointed a stakeholder manager in Pretoria to liaise with Government on this and other issues. VinPro also has a transformation desk available to wineries and producers.


For more information, contact:

WineBiz Stakeholder Manager, Michael Mokhoro: 073 348 2446,

VinPro Transformation Desk, Phil Bowes: 021 276 0429,

WISE Transformation Plan: 




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