Agri SA presented its solutions to the slow pace of land reform at a workshop hosted by the FW de Klerk Foundation in Johannesburg. The context of the debate is the motion of expropriation without compensation (EWC) currently before Parliament, although, more broadly speaking, the real question is how to effect speedy but sustainable agrarian reform. Central to the Agri SA proposal is an Agri Development Fund (ADF), which aims to accelerate transformation in agriculture by creating 1 million jobs and 10 000 new black commercial farmers.
During 2017 Agri SA and its affiliates and partners spent R331 million on transformation and 108 307 new farmers in South Africa benefitted from these programmes.
“The ADF can address unemployment, as well as improve access to food in rural areas,” said Omri van Zyl, executive director of Agri SA. “The slow pace of land reform to date is, in Agri SA’s considered view, a failure of implementation rather than a failure of legal framework.”
We understand the debate is not just about economics and financial models. The historical dispossession of land caused deep emotional wounds, which have not healed, and great physical hardship of an enduring nature. Agri SA believes that any agrarian policy must restore dignity and enable commercial self-reliance in rural communities for it to be sustainable, and that wholesale expropriation would do the exact opposite.
“We are staunchly opposed to the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution. It will not solve anything, but rather hurt rural communities the most and in fact brake any sustainable agricultural transformation and development.”
Agri SA will continue to engage with the various role-players to advocate for transformation funding as the sustainable solution. – Press release