No disaster coming, says Nafcoc leader on land expropriation

The redistribution of land under the proposed expropriation without compensation law must not only be aimed at addressing past injustices but also unlock generational wealth, says National African Federation Chamber of Commerce (Nafcoc) president Lawrence Mavundla.

"If implemented correctly, land redistribution in South Africa is likely to change the economic landscape of the country," said Mavundla, speaking on the sidelines of the Free Market Foundation conference on security of property rights on Tuesday.

"Land must be used for the benefit of the country and the economy… particularly people who will work to ensure food security to ensure economic development, including those who were historically marginalised and denied property rights," he said.

The two-day conference, from November 20-21, is probing how countries such as Venezuela, India, Asia and other African countries are dealing with land reform without undermining property rights.

It follows Parliament's Joint Constitutional Review Committee's adoption of a resolution that would allow expropriation of land without compensation.

This followed a series of public consultations that were viewed with caution by some business bodies, who called for pragmatic approach to the contentious subject of land.

'No disaster'

"I believe that there is no disaster that is coming," Mavundla said.

"I don’t subscribe to the notion that if you give land to black people it would be valueless," he added.

According to the Free Market Foundation submission on land reform, if the country is serious about economic development, South Africa should consider efficient use of land, rather than focusing on who owns parcels of land.

Mavundla called for careful use of land, arguing that government ownership of swathes of unused land was no better than private ownership of idle land.

Speaking on the Zimbabwean case study of land redistribution, Rejoice Ngwenya, founder and executive director of the Coalition for Market and Liberal Solutions, warned that South Africa must not fall into a trap of using land to settle political scores.

"We need to take political toxicity out of land reform," he said.

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