Cape Town – The spectre of land expropriation is again rearing its ugly head in the agricultural sector.
Agri SA deputy president Dr Theo de Jager says after recent discussions with government officials and politicians he has no doubt at all that the principle of willing buyer, willing seller will give way to expropriation.
The discussion document on land reform published by the ANC with a view to its Policy Conference this week contains proposals regarding expropriation, ceilings for land ownership, that certain land should belong to the state, and there should be an appraiser-general who would determine whether the price of land is excessive.
This is little different from the green paper on land reform that previously received criticism. De Jager said the six work groups put together by the Department of Rural Development and Land Affairs have not given consideration to comments obtained from interested parties.
It is also unknown whether the ANC has given any attention to the document on land reform compiled by members of the Agri Mega Group after their discussions with ANC leaders.
Should land be expropriated, the Constitution stipulates that property should be transferred to the state at market-related prices. If the envisaged assessor-general should determine the value of land, this could create problems since the ANC already claims that land is too expensive.
It's not only white commercial farmers who would be affected by the proposed changes.
The draft document proposes that land acquired by the state should not be transferred in the names of the black famer beneficiaries, but only be assigned to them on leasehold. In the recent Agri Mega Group discussion with ANC leaders the black commercial farmers said that if land is not transferred in their names they will be unable to get loans to proceed with farming operations.
It was recently said that it would be in everyone’s interest for the land issue to be approached not along racial lines, but rather according to the dictates of commercial farming so as to ensure food security for all.
The ANC document concludes by saying the challenge is from vested interests in commercial agriculture and communal agricultural areas, and the biggest obstacle the limited ability of state institutions to fulfil their mandate.
There have been rumours that Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, will present the document to the ANC Policy Conference and not Gugile Nkwinti, the Minister of Rural Development and Land Affairs, under whose auspices the green paper saw the light of day. - Sake24
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