Govt may curb foreign land ownership

2011-08-25 22:01

Johannesburg - South Africa may put restrictions on the sale of land to foreigners as it aims to transfer ownership to blacks as part of a drive to correct racial imbalances in land distribution, a draft policy showed on Thursday.

After the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa set a target of handing over 30% of commercial farmland to blacks by 2014 but progress has been slow, prompting the government to review the policy.

Land reform is a sensitive issue in South Africa and has been brought into focus by the decline in agriculture in neighbouring Zimbabwe, where many white-owned commercial farms were seized by President Robert Mugabe's government.

The South African programme has caused unease and slowed investment in the agricultural sector as white commercial farmers consider whether to reinvest in their farms. This has implications for food security and inflation at a time when food prices have been rising steeply

The department of land reform proposed in a draft green paper posted on its website that "sale of land to foreigners no longer be freehold titles but be leasehold titles subject to limiting regulations".

Freehold means a person owns the land, while in leasehold one owns the property on the land but not the land itself.

The draft policy also proposed restrictions, such as stopping foreigners going into partnership with locals and excluding foreigners from buying in sensitive areas such as coastal and agricultural, be placed on leasehold titles held by foreigners.

It further said South Africans should continue to exercise freehold rights over land although this would also be subject to regulatory limitations.

The draft paper also proposes the establishment of a Land Management Commission to monitor the execution of the policy and an office of valuer-general to provide "fair and consistent" land values and determine compensation after an expropriation. 

  • Nkosi - 2011-08-25 22:15

    Oh cool! I am 100%behind this policy

      brinjal - 2011-08-26 04:13

      Yes and soon you'll be 100% behind a food handout que.

      Netherlands - 2011-08-26 06:21

      Yep Nkosi... typical AFRICAN WAY of THINKING(sic) In your little world.... is there a tomorrow? Or does TODAY the only thing you can get your head around?

      alexander.j.s.dowding - 2011-08-26 14:42

      The road to hell is paved with good intentions

      Alexander Dowding - 2011-08-26 14:48

      The road to hell is paved with good intentions

  • Anneck - 2011-08-25 22:16

    Typical of a government that knows absolutely NOTHING about foreign investment and it's value!

  • diplomat - 2011-08-25 22:22

    Can South Africans living overseas own land?

      Netherlands - 2011-08-26 06:20

      I live abroad, and I OWN A LARGE PIECE OF LAND in the Free State PLUS couple of residencials in KZN... Will this jeopodise my future?

      Netherlands - 2011-08-26 07:52

      My question EXACTLY!!! Seeing that I OWN land in SA.... will I have to GIVE IT UP, HAND IT OVER?

  • Anneck - 2011-08-25 22:29

    Typical ANC government using apartheid as an excuse for their greed! They want control of EVERYTHING and for what? They just WRECK it all anyway!

  • crackerr - 2011-08-25 23:03

    Does it REALLY matter who owes what? As long as the land is used for the benefit of all and within the law of the country it makes no difference to the average person, or even the not so average. Who will be getting the land and to do what with? All land within the borders of the Republic belongs to the Republic and if it really for some now un-imaginable reasons becomes necessary, the State can just take the land. Place a policeman at the farm entrance road and keep others out. It would be such unusual circumstances that nobody would even bother approaching the courts and counting on the niceties of the law or the Constitution. So, what are the issues that needs to be addressed? Taking the land or keeping others from "taking" it serves no sensible economic purpose unless there is a sensible and hopefully MORE beneficial economical pay off. Mere sentiment of black land ownership or more land to the already well off? It makes no sense. Possession or ownership of land alone does not benefit you unless it has value and serve as security. Anyway, people know it. And hopefully people high up in the ANC will be honest enough about the land issues. You can only dish out so much land and make so many more promises.

  • Ndlovu - 2011-08-25 23:25

    wanna see wher food is going thereafter... the ANC (GOVT) is peeing at its own legs!!!

  • Ndlovu - 2011-08-25 23:35

    aniway... land can't be owed.. or have you ever tried to take it to somwhere else. Normally land is owing the "owner"... especially when it is an active farm....

      grant9 - 2011-08-26 01:10

      your comment does not make sense to me. The report says nothing about land being "owed".

  • Peter - 2011-08-25 23:54

    Including Chinese?

      Boer - 2011-08-26 01:00

      Peter to stop foreigners from owning land in South-Africa is like signing a death warrent for the South-African economy. I mean whats the big deal if someone can afford to purchase land in another country and develope it? Is that not better for any country than purchasing land and just sitting on it and doing sweet blow nothing with the land. Like in most cases that is exactly what is going to happen in South-Africa. just look at Zim.

  • dave_23 - 2011-08-26 00:15

    Dear ANC. Can we please have some more artificial nails in the coffin of the South African property market? You apparently haven't done enough damage yet. Thanks!

      Netherlands - 2011-08-26 06:17

      There goes another couple of BILLION.... Telling foreigners that they cannot OWN LAND in SA... is the same as Nationalisation! Which SIDE of the STUPID WALL DID GOVT FALL?????? THICK AS A BRICK!!!!!!!!

  • grant9 - 2011-08-26 01:22

    I read a report that many farmers want to sell their farms but the government funds that were allocated for this have disappeared. Further reports say that farms that were bought in the past and re-distributed to blacks are now unprductive. South Africa has become a net importer of food for the first time in a hundred years.

  • Nasdaq7 - 2011-08-26 01:26

    This idea won't increase the number of black people that own land and sooner or later they will legislate that SA whites be limited in land. This is the type of legislation you get when someone from the shacks are put in charge of land management. The problem is precisely a shortage of land - so increase the supply of land - and for that you need money which the foreigners so easily provided.

      semaj - 2011-08-26 07:40

      The "shortage" of land will not be rectified as long as the tribal areas, such as E Cape and parts of North West as well as other areas still have "ownership" vested in the local Chiefs. Even less will it be rectified by carving up currently productive land in climatically compromised areas, such as the Karoo, handing it out in economically non-viable packages to unqualified small farmers. Contrary to popular belief, traditional Black areas, such as E Cape are potentially the most productive areas in the country, having reasonably reliable rainfall, but sadly, unable to realise their agricultural potential because of exhausted soils due to erosion and bad usage over the years. A major shift in expectations is required to asses the situation, in contrast to the knee-jerk reactions we are seeing. South Africa is a dry country, with the exception being the eastern parts.

  • Danie - 2011-08-26 06:26

    The poor poor black SA citizens, The overseas people do not just spend billions to squire the properties. I believe most of them are retired professionals spending our summer at least in their SA property , spending billions in SA local economy. This billions are leading to thousands of jobs for SA unemployed , poor black people. Only to have land available to rich politicians , after they stole the poor's money, to buy properties.

  • Nikki - 2011-08-26 07:03

    Who can I contact to sell my land to the government - if they want they can buy it now! Please advise

  • woogoo - 2011-08-26 07:06

    So the @ssholes think they are going to feed the growing population with less commercial farmland - as the JuJu's and their following they want to give it to have no intention to continue to operate commercial farms??? Eish some Klipdrift and Eish with very little Coke seems to be speaking from our dishonorable leaders side???

  • dries.bisschoff - 2011-08-26 08:59

    Go for it! kill the chicken that lays golden egs, it will taste so nice.

  • ilollipop - 2011-08-26 10:52

    How important is the race of the person who grew your food? To some people it seems to be important...

  • KC - 2011-08-26 13:31

    Who is the government to decide who owns property, the ruling party is only short term while property ownership is long term. Let the rule of economics decide, after all our country needs capital inflow and skills.

  • umlaut - 2011-08-26 14:37

    As things stand in SA now they don't have to curb foreign ownership by law, they have curbed it with their tongues and actions. Investors are going to be very wary of SA and they will treat it like Mozambique--you only spend spare cash there and you don't see it as a safe investment--you must be prepared to lose it all. An investor from outside who wastes his shareholders cash on risky SA will get himself fired. So the stage is set for another popular move as to secure the anc more votes. Maybe SA won't have a Eskom power problem in 3 years' time--there won't be a demand for more power if they carry on like this.

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