AfriForum ‘irresponsible’ for publishing list of farms

2018-08-14 17:49

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The KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union (Kwanalu) has said AfriForum is “irresponsible” for circulating a list of farms allegedly earmarked for expropriation without compensation.

AfriForum published a list on its website on Sunday “of farms that are apparently identified by government to be expropriated without compensation in the weeks to come”. Afriforum released the list with a statement that the list follows “the ruling ANC’s announcement earlier in the week that the party had identified 139 farms” for land expropriation without compensation. “The list of farms was kept confidential, however, and neither the party nor government was willing to make the list public,” said Afriforum.

The statement said the list was being circulated within the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

However, Department spokesperson Linda Page said they did not know where Afriforum got the list from and that there is “no truth to this document”.

AfriForum deputy CEO Ernst Roets insisted that the document was “definitely being circulated”, but did not say how the list reached them, only that it had come from “a confidential source”.

Agri SA president Dan Kriek agreed with Kwanalu CEO Sandy La Marque that the publishing of the list was “grossly irresponsible” as Afriforum had itself acknowledged that its legitimacy was in doubt.

“They themselves don’t know if it’s valid or not,” he was quoted by News24 as saying on Monday.

La Marque said in her statement that the “list contains several inaccuracies”.

“We have been calling for calm and have been reminding our members that expropriation is not just something that can take place arbitrarily but for a legitimate purpose. It will also not take place overnight,” she said.

“There is a due legal process and clear prescribed steps that would need to be adhered to all the way to the courts. We question the validity of the list as some of the properties have been transferred to new beneficiaries,” said La Marque.

“Kwanalu will continue to participate proactively in the matter of expropriation without compensation which is being reviewed by the Constitutional Review Committee.”

The Association for Rural Advancement (Afra) said on Monday that the Constitution establishes various grounds for what “just and equitable” compensation of land reform would be.

“The value of land cannot only be determined on the basis of its market value and the courts have already indicated in some detail that all criteria should be weighed and considered.

“There are certainly conditions under which zero-compensation may apply if all the criteria set out in the Constitution are considered.

“To date no land has been expropriated for purposes of land reform. The department is exploring the possibility of doing so, which would follow certain legal processes and be subject to litigation, and which may be taken to the Constitutional Court. The fact that the department is doing so does not undermine the ongoing constitutional review process on Section 25 of the Constitution or the finalisation of the Expropriation Amendment Bill,” said Afra.

A Midlands farmer whose land is on Afriforum’s list said he felt the list was “wildly speculative”. Farmer Robin Barnsley said he had been made aware of the list when Afriforum first posted it but did not believe it was correct.

He said he had not been contacted by on the topic of expropriation without compensation. “That list is meaningless at the moment. There have been subdivisions of the farm [on the Afriforum list] that may have had land claims but there have been no land claims in my area.

“I will not be losing any sleep over it. There is also more than enough time to validate the list,” the farmer said.

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