Land recommendations a threat to SA’s food security – Agri SA

Staff Writer | Jul 29, 2019
Agricultural body Agri SA joined the Democratic Alliance and others in warning of the harm that would be inflicted on the country if property rights were eroded.

Agri SA warned that if the recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform’s report were ‘implemented to the letter, food security for all South Africans will be compromised’.

The organisation’s executive director, Omri van Zyl, said: ‘Investor and business confidence are already low, and the last thing we need is further strain on the economy and the agricultural sector.’

Agri SA’s head of land policy, Annelize Crosby said in a statement the organisation was ‘extremely concerned’ about several aspects of the Panel’s report, ‘particularly the controversial recommendations which include amending the Constitution and land ceilings. Agri SA does not support any policy or legislation that infringes on property rights or any other fundamental right enshrined in the constitution.’

President of Agri SA, Dan Kriek was a member of the Panel, but, when ‘it became clear that there were fundamental differences in opinion and approach to land reform within the panel’, he and fellow panel member Nick Serfontein ‘compiled an alternative report with a focus on private sector solutions’.

‘The alternative report presents common-sensical solutions to land reform, which [are] lacking in many aspects of the panel report,’ Crosby said. ‘We are strongly of the view that land reform in farming areas will take a huge step forward with the establishment of an agricultural development agency where the private sector takes a leading role in driving and financing sustainable land reform.’

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said in a statement the report’s key recommendations ‘would be disastrous for our economy and investor confidence if implemented’.

The party rejected the ‘outcomes' of land reform panel ' with regards to land expropriation without compensation and other untenable suggestions it makes’, and said the recommendations ‘are high-risk, and at best promise low-reward for those in need of meaningful land reform’.

DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform & Rural Development Thandeka Mbabama said that while ‘legal and thorough land reform is essential’, it was clear that ‘multiple failures and corruption of the ANC government over 25 years have brought land reform to its knees, and now the political play to expropriate land is a last desperate bandage on a very serious injury’.

In particular, the DA was ‘highly dismayed’ at the report's rejection of ‘providing land title and security of tenure to South Africans living on communal land’, as this ‘perpetuates the wrongs of our past, and denies ownership of land to hundreds of thousands of people’.

Mbabama said the African National Congress 'cannot continue to pin its land reform failures of the past 25 years on the Constitution'.


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