Not all land will be expropriated without compensation – ANC

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Fikile Mbalula. (Simphiwe Nkwali, Gallo Images, Sunday Times, file)
Fikile Mbalula. (Simphiwe Nkwali, Gallo Images, Sunday Times, file)

The ANC is not planning on expropriating all land without compensation as expropriation in this manner will only be carried out in specific circumstances.

This is what an ANC delegation said during a press briefing in Centurion on Friday following a meeting between the ANC and AgriSA on land expropriation.

ANC election head Fikile Mbalula, who led the ANC delegation, said that property rights in South Africa were not under threat, and that there was no intention to grab land.

"[The] ANC position on expropriation without compensation is for specific circumstances in the land reform process. This is aimed at supporting open commerce and certainty," Mbalula said.

Chairperson of the ANC's subcommittee on economic transformation Enoch Godongwana echoed these sentiments.

"We then say, in certain circumstances we will not pay compensation, we are not saying in all circumstances we will not pay compensation," Godongwana said.

The ANC delegation also clearly stated that the party's policies were not aligned with those of the EFF on land nationalisation.

"One thing that is not going to happen is to nationalise land. We are not in support of government controlling lives and commerce in that way. Commerce ought to be free with requisite regulations in place," said Mbalula.

Banking sector fears allayed

He added that land would be expropriated and redistributed in a manner that would not affect productivity or the economy and that the plan was to strengthen and grow the economy through land reform.

Godongwana also gave insight on land that may be targeted, saying that land belonging to the state, speculative, underutilised and vandalised land would be looked at for expropriation without compensation.

He said these were still ideas and that the ANC had not yet formalised its position.

Mbalula also tackled fears that the banking sector would take a knock if bonded land was expropriated.

"We are alive to the importance of keeping the world-class banking system undisturbed. We may have a situation where land has been bonded with a bank loan, banking must not find itself collapsing as a result of our efforts to democratise land ownership.

"What we are clear about is land will be de-monopolised, land will be made to be constitutional."

'Land access is coming'

The meeting between the ANC and AgriSA and some of its farmers was held behind closed doors, but was a fruitful and productive discussion, according to Mbalula and AgriSA president Dan Kriek.

"This engagement with the ANC is of immeasurable value, we are optimistic about the future of a sustainable agricultural sector in South Africa," said Dan Kriek.

"I feel that the ANC heard our concerns and will take it into consideration for the path ahead."

Godongwana said that farmers raised their concerns around the issue but said it was a frank and honest discussion. He added that some of the submissions were emotive, with one farmer stating that he sold his livestock after the ANC announced its intentions to expropriate land without compensation.

Mbalula welcomed the meeting and engagement, saying that land distribution could not happen without all stakeholders participating in the efforts to rebuild the country.

"We want to assure our people, black and white, that land access is coming. We want to assure stakeholders, farmers and all that land distribution will happen."

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