Land expropriation: 'We will leave no stone unturned in protecting the interests of farmers' - AgriSA

Agri SA’s president Dan Kriek briefs the media on the Parliamentary debate and the decision to approve the motion to allow for expropriation without compensation. (Sesona Ngqakamba, News24)
Agri SA’s president Dan Kriek briefs the media on the Parliamentary debate and the decision to approve the motion to allow for expropriation without compensation. (Sesona Ngqakamba, News24)

Agricultural industry association Agri SA says it "will leave no stone unturned in protecting the interests of farmers" and the agricultural sector it represents.

The association said this in a media briefing on Wednesday, where it maintained that it would continue to pursue all credible avenues to protect farmers, and vowed to challenge the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution in court. 

"We are on record that we were against the expropriation without compensation, right from the beginning, and that is still our stance," Agri SA president Dan Kriek said. 

Kriek said expropriation of land would have a negative effect on international investments.

"I cannot see how this is positive for international investors, and that is extremely worrisome," he said.

Kriek said the Constitution could not be easily changed as it had to protect the people against the excesses of politicians.

He said they would not allow for their anti-expropriation stance to be seen as anti-transformation, as they were heavily involved in the process. 

"There are two things that we will not allow; we will not allow for the Constitution to be amended for political reasons. Secondly, we will not allow that position to be construed as us being not progressive, and anti-progressive," Kriek said. 

Agri SA said this following Tuesday’s vote in the National Assembly to adopt the Joint Constitutional Review Committee’s (CRC) report, which recommended that the Constitution be amended to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

'We want to be part of the solution'

Altogether 209 MPs voted in favour of the adoption of the report, while 91 opposed it. There were no abstentions.

Kriek said the African National Congress and Parliament had disregarded the "best" research on land expropriation. 

READ: National Assembly adopts report on land expropriation without compensation

"If you want to change the Constitution, you got to do some research. What is disturbing in this instance is that Parliament did the best research on the topic and the best research available is the Motlanthe high-level report - page 200 to 300 - and that is the best report…" Kriek said.

Agri SA deputy president Pierre Vercueil added that what was happening would have an impact on the asset value of farms and that would have an impact on new farmers.

"We do not need policies that are actually going to cause the negative effect and have a result that new farmers would not be successful in their start of business," he said.

Vercueil said they believed that land reform had to happen, but that it would be impossible if the government created a climate where the investment value of the land would disappear.   

"We want to be part of the solution, we have to be part of the solution. We want to see new farmers settle in agriculture. We are involved in internships, we are involved in mentorships and all the plans that can make it possible. We do not need policies," Vercueil said.

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