Land cannot be taken over without settlement

2012-06-29 00:00

THERE will be no expropriation of land without compensation, or altering of the country’s Constitution to effect land reform, the ANC’s commission on land reform has decided.

Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson rushed fresh from the commission, which she led, to tell President Jacob Zuma the news during his walkabout in the ANC Progressive Business Forum lounge at the party’s policy conference.

By all accounts it was a tough evening and morning as the commission thrashed things out, but “we had a very good team pulling the matters together and there was a very sober and responsible discussion”, she said.

“I think we can be confident that there will be integrity on what we decide.”

She said land was not just an emotive matter, but it was also central to the country’s economy.

“We are determined to protect food security and there is no way in which we want destabilisation,” she said.

Joemat-Pettersson added Section 25 of the Constitution already provided for land expropriation, but the implementation of this had been weak.

She said the audit of state land would be done by the end of the year, and this would speed up land reform.

“We have no choice. Next year is the centenary of the implementation of the 1913 Land Act.

“We can’t go into the centenary year without having applied our minds to fast track the process. I don’t think we have an option, the entire economic stability of our country depends on the land issue,” she said.

Joemat-Pettersson also conveyed the news to AgriSA deputy president Theo de Jager, as he stood by his stall in the business lounge. She had wanted Zuma to tell AgriSA personally, but Zuma felt this would have detracted attention from his walkabout.

De Jager said he was happy there had been a decision on the matter, as agriculture had seen a massive loss of investment in the past few years because of uncertainty.

The ANC Youth League has pushed for the expropriation of land with no compensation.

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