News and social media platforms are buzzing with concerned discussion on the newly adopted motion on land expropriation without compensation. The motion was brought forward by Julius Malema, EFF leader, and was adopted by parliament with a vote of 241 in support of the motion and 83 against the motion. The next step is now for the matter to be referred to the Constitutional Review Committee. This committee will have to report back by 30 August 2018. The review process will also include a public participation process.

Agri SA reacted very strongly to this news saying that the debate in parliament was dominated by emotion and politics, rather than the important purpose of finding a workable solution to land reform. Agri SA says it understands the need for land reform and the frustration with the apparent slow progress and is committed to orderly and sustainable land reform. “However, rational arguments regarding the possible implications that such a step may hold for the agricultural sector and the broader economy were absent from the debate. The fact is that financial institutions are substantially invested in the sector and expropriation without compensation will also impact negatively on the banking sector. Such a step will probably lead to a situation where financial institution will no longer make production loans available to farmers.  Without these loans, farmers cannot purchase seed, fertiliser, feed or implements and will be unable to produce.  This may lead to food shortages, price increases, food related riots and social instability.”

According to Agri SA, the ANC and EFF clearly did not take heed of the true facts regarding the failure of land reform seriously.  It appears that the governing party has ignored the findings of the High-Level Panel on Key Legislation, which was appointed by Parliament.  This panel found, after a thorough investigation, that the property clause and the requirement that compensation be paid upon expropriation, were not impediments to land reform.  Instead, an insufficient budget, lack of political will, poor implementation and corruption were identified as impediments.

Agri SA will participate in the consultations which will now follow and will utilise the best expertise available to impact the processes optimally. The organisation will also get legal- and other advice regarding the process that is now unfolding. Agri SA is in favour of a fact-based approach to land reform based on partnerships.  The organisation is working on a strategy in this regard, together with other stakeholders in the sector.

Dan Kriek, Agri SA’s President warned that all property owners’ rights are at stake and that amending the property clause represents a step backwards into a past where the protection of property rights was not applied across the board. The right to property is a fundamental right that provides protection to black and white, rich and poor against unjust state interference.  The denial of this protection is out of step with international practice and is not in the national interest, said Kriek.

In their response, Agbiz  expresses deep concern about this matter. “While the principle decision has been taken within the context of ‘ensuring food security, economic growth and radical economic transformation’, it effectively erodes property rights that are the very foundation to the values and principles related to individual liberty and economic freedom. These are the drivers of a country’s prosperity and are internationally accepted as fundamental rights.  The resolution essentially goes against the ethos and spirit of the current South African Constitution which is grounded on the founding principles of freedom, equality and human dignity,” said Dr. John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz.

“While the principle concerns are clear and fundamental, we still need to ascertain the exact nature of the envisaged amendments to especially Section 25 of the Constitution (the property clause), as well as other clauses thereof. Exactly what the potential implications and impacts will be is thus largely uncertain at this stage. As these envisaged amendments become clear, Agbiz will make substantive submissions to the Constitutional Review Committee,” Dr. Purchase said. – Press release

Read what some experts have had to say about expropriation without compensation on AgriOrbit.

Scenarios for expropriation without compensation

Problems with the new plan for land expropriation without compensation

Expropriation without compensation: Impact on food availability and affordability

Land expropriation without compensation will impact the ordinary citizen