DA against govt's land plan

2010-03-23 18:01

Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance will oppose the adoption of a government land plan which proposes placing productive land under the control of the state.

Party MP Annette Steyn said should the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform's 2010-2013 Strategic Plan be approved it would propose an amendment of section 25 of the Constitution, a provision that protects private property against expropriation.

"The controversial plan proposes the placing of all productive land under the control of the state and an amendment of section 25 of the Constitution, the provision that protects private property against expropriation," Steyn said.

"We have in the past and will continue to argue for a state land reform policy that provides a comprehensive set of pro-active measures, with budgetary backing, to tackle the stagnation of land reform in South Africa.

"Land Reform under the ANC has failed and the administration, inspired by outdated nationalisation dogma, now seems to be looking for a shortcut that will destroy the right to private land ownership - a right guaranteed by the Bill of Rights - and has a Zimbabwe-styled crisis written all over it."

Land tenure system

Under option one of the plan, all productive land will become a national asset and "a quitrent land tenure system" either with perpetual or limited rights is envisaged.

Steyn said the claim by the department that declaring all productive farmland a "national asset" is not the same as nationalisation is merely an argument in semantics as the proposal would indeed place in the control of the state all productive land.

"How this would be different to nationalisation is not clear, since the state, through legal means, would take control of former private property.

"It is precisely the sort of foolish measure that would cripple South Africa's agricultural sector.

"The devastation to the economy that would occur should South African agricultural land be nationalised cannot be underestimated. One need only look at the near irreparable economic damage that was caused by the nationalisation of agricultural land in Zimbabwe."