Land reform: Motlanthe warns of ‘anarchy and chaos’ if property rights aren’t protected

2019-07-11 13:43
Kgalema Motlanthe. Picture: Franco Megannon

Kgalema Motlanthe. Picture: Franco Megannon

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Former president Kgalema Motlanthe has warned of a dire impact on society if property rights in South Africa aren't protected.

Speaking at a dialogue about a mooted agricultural development agency facilitated by former constitutional negotiator Roelf Meyer in Pretoria, Motlanthe said there is no need to amend  Section 25 of the Constitution to enable expropriation in the public interest because the country's supreme law already provides for that.

"If property is not protected you destroy value, and if there's no value then you won't have an economy driving forward. People won't invest effort and resources in building assets. And if you think about it properly, if property is not protected by law, society as we understand it today, will disappear because the kind of anarchy and chaos that would ensue is difficult to imagine," Motlanthe said.

READ: Sisulu vows housing dept will be the 'first expropriator' of state-owned land

Section 25 protects property and recognises the need for the restoration of rights to those who have been dispossessed, Motlanthe added.

"It recognises that the injustices of the past must be addressed and stipulates how it should happen with the confines of the law and the Constitution."

The "land question" remains a source of deep national grievance for black South Africans because of a history of dispossession, he said, but added that the Constitution enables land reform and land restitution. If restitution and reform is undertaken without regard for the rights of property owners it will have disastrous consequences for the South African economy, he told the gathering of commercial farmers, emerging black commercial farmers, banks and representatives from various agriculture organisations.

In 2015, Motlanthe chaired a panel which the speaker of Parliament asked to investigate the impact of legislation since 1994. The panel found that land reform and restitution failed. It found that the Constitution was not the reason for that failure, but poor implementation of policy and a lack of urgency by government.

READ: 'Let Zindzi Mandela be,' pleads Duarte in personal note

He told the gathering that he hopes the sixth Parliament will reconsider the report after the fifth Parliament went "on a detour" following the ANC's elective conference that resolved that the government implement a policy of expropriation without compensation.

"The panel found there's no need to amend the Constitution, Section 25 already makes provision for expropriation in the public interest and for the public good and takes into consideration factors to take into account when determining value. That includes how the property was acquired, what it was used for and whether improvements have been made on the property," Motlanthe argued.

Meyer explained the purpose of the planned development agency would be to address the need for a sustainable and united approach to land reform and creating commercial prosperity for established and emerging farmers.

"This agency needs to have two clear aims: one is to empower black farmers to become successful, and the other is the transfer of skills and capital to those farmers."

READ: New funds aims for 108 160 serviced stands in 3 years to reduce housing shortfall

He explained that the agency had the support and blessing of various organised agriculture organisations as well as the country’' big banks.

"We've met with Thoko Didiza, the Minister of Agriculture and Land Reform and although I cannot say we have the support of the government yet, she did give us guidelines on what she wants to see."

Pitso Sekhoto, chairperson of the Agri-sector Unity Forum, said there was a great need to unify the agriculture sector.

"And I'm not talking about the kind of unity the ANC wants…we need to be as one if we want to take the sector forward."

Chris Burgess, editor of agriculture weekly Landbouweekblad, said "the overwhelming majority of farmers, 99% of them, are willing and ready to take an active part in land reform. They're just waiting for a signal".

"It is critical that the land reform process succeeds. Farmers are the most open-minded people and the most lateral thinkers in the country. I cannot think of another sector that will approach an issue like this in the same way."

His sentiments were echoed by mega farmer Nick Serfontein, whose open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa went viral last year.

"Land reform is morally right, because it is right to give land back to people from whom it was taken without consent. It is socially right because it gives dignity to people. And it's economically right because successful land reform will support the economy."

GET THE NEWS at your fingertips and download the News24 app for Android or iPhone.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    kgalema motlanthe  |  land  |  land expropriation
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.