In a media statement welcoming ‘the greater realism’ displayed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in last week State of the Nation Address, agricultural business association Agbiz said it reaffirmed its opposition to amending the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation (EWC).

Agbiz, an association of agribusinesses operating in South and Southern Africa, said the moves towards EWC amounted to an ‘unnecessary and damaging approach to land reform, investment confidence and the commercial viability of the sector’.

The organization welcomed the emphasis placed by President Ramaphosa on inclusive economic growth to address key challenges facing the country.

IRR analysts point out that the signature of an important Agbiz representative is on the pro-EWC report on which the government bases its position.

Agbiz was one of the 10 members on the Land Panel appointed to advise the government on the issue of EWC. Eight panel members, including the representative for Agbiz, supported compensation-free expropriation. Two members disagreed with the majority and produced a minority report setting out why it would be disastrous. The President accepted the majority report.

The IRR has been campaigning vigorously against EWC and the amendment of the Section 25 property clause in the Constitution. Many farmers who have expressed their opposition are extremely dismayed that many of the businesses that are supported by the farming community, formally supported EWC through their representative organisation Agbiz.