Farmers concerned over call to take land

2017-01-17 11:39
On Sunday, the ANC in the province made a bold comment at the ANC’s provincial January 8 statement celebration held in KwaDukuza, calling for the state to expropriate 70% of the country’s land.

On Sunday, the ANC in the province made a bold comment at the ANC’s provincial January 8 statement celebration held in KwaDukuza, calling for the state to expropriate 70% of the country’s land. (Sabelo Nsele)

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Local farmers have warned the ANC against large scale expropriation, saying it might lead to conflict.

On Sunday, the ANC in the province made a bold comment, calling for the state to expropriate 70% of the country’s land.

The call also received the support of President Jacob Zuma and ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize.

However, KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union chief executive Sandy la Marque said she was “concerned about the reported statements”, which also proposed the introduction of a “take land then negotiate later” policy.

“It is important to note that the Constitution does not allow land to be taken without just and equitable compensation.

“Further, neither the Property Valuation Bill nor the Expropriation Bill allows for the valuer-general to determine the compensation.

“The valuer-general must value and make a recommendation on compensation, but the expropriating authority has to make an offer of compensation and the courts will ultimately determine compensation where there is any dispute on the compensation offered,” she said.

La Marque said she believed South Africa did not have the monetary resources to expropriate 70% of the land at this point in time.

“As such, statements of the nature reported raise false expectations and could potentially lead to conflict, which we can ill afford during this difficult time of drought and the impact on food production.

“KwaNalu and its members have been proactively participating and implementing a sound rural development strategy as we are committed to the economic and social growth of our country,” she said.

AgriSA’s land affairs adviser Annelize Crosby said there were other ways that were less disruptive that government should consider.

“AgriSA does not support a call for large scale expropriation. Although we acknowledge that expropriation has its place, we see it as a measure of last resort.

“We believe that there are less disruptive and more sustainable ways to go about speeding up land reform.

“Neither the Expropriation Bill nor the Property Valuation Bill makes provision for the state determining the final compensation where there is a dispute over compensation. The Constitution also does not allow for this to happen,” said Crosby.

However, the National African Farmers Union (Nafu) welcomed Zuma’s announcement, rejecting the principle of willing buyer, willing seller as unworkable.

“They do not want to negotiate in good faith. They feel like we owe them,” said deputy president Mandala Buthelezi.

“We are pleased by the position that has been taken by the ANC. Our only worry is the implementation. They must not feel sorry for helping black farmers.

“One of the reasons why those farms given back to communities fail is because they do not have enough financial support and training,” he said.

Read more on:    anc  |  pietermaritzburg  |  land claims

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