Govt moots ban on farm buyers

2010-10-14 06:34

Cape Town - A ban on foreigners buying productive land in South Africa and additional property taxes for “absentee landlords” form part of a detailed government proposal to create a new land tenure system, aimed at improving land reform.
According to the “final draft” of the long-awaited green paper on rural development and land reform, limiting land ownership rights for foreigners who don’t have permanent residency would be entirely constitutional.
It would also be in line with measures other developed and developing countries have put in place.
The discussion paper also suggests that, in certain cases, the same moratorium on acquiring land could be extended to “South Africans who do not qualify for redress under the national land reform policies”. has obtained a copy of the 129-page document, which explains that: “The problem with foreign land ownership is not the sale or purchase of land by non-citizens per se but the use of the land.”
This view, argues the paper, shifts the debate to the realm of the “effectiveness of measures designed to assuage the ill-effects of foreign land ownership”.
These ill-effects, according to the green paper, include rising land values, distortion of the land market, perpetuation of segregation as well as the legacy of fragmentation that was initially created by apartheid land planning.
The green paper proposes that a “viable mechanism for the future” is for foreigners to be limited to medium- and long-term leases of all productive land.
It adds that: “Regulation, in this view, should include measures such as additional property taxation on non-residents or absentee landlords”.
The document, which will be released for public comment once approved by cabinet, concedes that government has no statistical information on exactly what land foreigners currently occupy.
But it dismisses official figures which show that foreign natural persons own only 0.55% of farms by number of properties, 0.15% by value, and 0.07% by area.

These figures also show that when it comes to “agricultural holdings” (generally residential smallholdings around some large towns), they own 1.79% by number of properties, 1.75% by value, and 1.98% by area.
“The concern is that these figures may not reveal the full extent of foreign ownership,” the paper states. There is a concern that foreigners own a great deal of land through their stakes in corporate entities.
It is for this reason that the document proposes compulsory disclosure of nationality, race, gender and other information.
It also calls for a land management commission (LMC) to oversee a new, three-tier land reform system and to enforce legislation that will be necessary to implement it.
It is proposed that the LMC be given prosecuting powers to safeguard against issues like fronting which should, the document recommends, carry the sanction of asset forfeiture.


  • Nasdaq7 - 2010-10-14 08:46

    How much agricultural land does the government own? Something like 25%. 90% of which isn't being used. I'm not sure about the figures - but it is somewhere around there I guess.

  • Karl - 2010-10-14 08:54

    “South Africans who do not qualify for redress under the national land reform policies”. What does this mean? Whites will not be allowed to buy farms? When you buy property or apply for a job please state your race! Those people who do not feel intimidated by whites will be the new leaders of our beautiful country

  • Imax - 2010-10-14 09:08

    “South Africans who do not qualify for redress under the national land reform policies”. What does this mean? Probably that I, as a white South African, will bared from purchasing certain properties. This is blatent discrimination.

  • BoB - 2010-10-14 09:14

    Did they ask Zim lawyers to write the bill. The ANC are a bunch of racists, their main policy is discrimination.

  • TAXMAN - 2010-10-14 09:32

    minority groups like myself will go to war and shed blood before you take my land, this is not zimbabwe we will not take nonsense here like the farmers did in this country we will chop off the head of the snake

  • Michael - 2010-10-14 10:07

    Back in the 90's I thought I was voting for an end to discrimination. We are now keeping score more than ever. It is racist to have to disclose your race. Sexist to have to disclose your gender. If you want a non-racist, non-sexist country - we need to stop keeping score.

  • Mis-led - 2010-10-14 10:18

    This is typical ill conceived ANC policy. There is plenty of land which can be made productive, but its easier to take over someones land that has already put the back breaking effort into turning it into something viable. More importantly there is not enough money to support those so called 'previously disadvantaged' farmers and those farms will quicky turn fallow as has already happened. Its almost election time, the ANC have let their voters down so many times on other issues, they would rather alienate the whites (the vast majority of whom would never vote ANC even if they were the last party on earth), then their uneducated, illiterate electrorate. @TAXMAN - I like your style, you won't be alone!

  • Kevyn - 2010-10-14 11:14

    Its un-constitutional and will never pass muster . Denying someone the right to own property because he is white - skinned is racist no matter how you look at it. Furthermore you cannot deny domeone the right to earn a living as a farmer because he is white. Finally in the next generation almost all farms in the country will change hands. If white South Africans cannot buy farmland because they are white, then every farm will be black owned? Is this what is intended .

  • Huh? - 2010-10-14 12:38

    Am I, as a 5th generation, locally-born individual, soon to be made nationless, a decision that is to be taken collectively by people who do not even know whom their ancestors are, let alone where they originally came from?

  • frewuigi - 2010-10-14 13:07

    There are two basic , vital needs -one is land for living, space to move and accomodate us , to enjoy. The other is food coming from sustainable agriculture which also balances production with preserving land for future generations.If this means that foreign entities and individuals who are speculating with land are at the short end of the green paper so be it.Large tracts of land in South Africa are not arable and difficult to live on ,alot of prime land is also unused and held by speculators ,this is whom the paper targets . Alot of the comments here are based on B&W and very few of them ...dare I say any based on reason and factuality. Goverments policy needs to address communities marginalised and who have also been farming for thousands of years and not protect large land owners , many of whom do nothing with their land .At the same time however commercial agriculture must be treasured and protected to the maximum from farm invasions and be made to feel safe and secure.Even if it means shooting trespassers...ded.

  • ØL - 2010-10-14 14:10

    In Norway you can only buy "farm" land if you will live there yourself and if you will actually farm there. It is not about race, but about farm owners acutally living and farming on the farm.

  • reality check - 2010-10-14 17:39

    -White people in this country have no rights - only obligations . We must obey all the laws,pay our taxes, play the transformation game while the Govt. thinks up new ways to screw us. The ANC govt. is giving the middle finger to us and the constitution. Quite clearly we're not wanted.

  • Shum - 2011-06-20 09:02

    I visited South Africa sometime 20 years ago and I was impressed by its scenic landscape and very cordial people, both black and white. I remembered that I was asked to comment on the future of the then newly independanc country and I told my African friends that from what I could observe, Africa will turn into a mess, after about 20 years when the honey-moon is over. I regret to note that my prediction is now a reality in South Africa. The fact that the ANC youth was ill-bred by the former Malaysian Prime minister to stage anti-white policy is one of the main reasons. The Blacks should re-think what they are doing emotionally in the so called land reform. Surely, there are better, moderate way to do it without causing hurt to the economy. What is the use if all land returned to the black but people have to suffer?? Think wisely, Mr.Malema, a leader should possess long tern planning and never be ruled by emotion.

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