Real obstacle to land reform

2008-05-13 00:00

PARLIAMENT has currently before it an expropriation bill which will expand the powers of the state in regard to the land reform process. If enacted, it will enable the government to buy land at below-market prices without the owners’ consent and will also undermine owners’ access to the courts if they object to being expropriated.

Farmers are not being obstructionist towards land reform. Many want nothing more than to get out, especially when their assets have been effectively frozen by land claims. Arming the government with a bigger stick with which to beat them is not the way forward. The people who require the big stick treatment are in the DLA. Get that department empowered and working with the same degree of efficiency as, for instance, is to be found in Sars, and the land-owning scene could be transformed and the production of food enhanced.

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