Dan Kriek, President – Agri SA
Agri SA takes note with dismay of the ANC’s decision to amend Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation.
As the relevant section stands now there are strict conditions justifying expropriation. There is no rational basis for this decision by the ANC. The High Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change, led by Kgalema Motlanthe, recently found that the biggest challenge standing in the way of land reform is not the property rights clause, but the implementation of land reform policies, procedures and extended entrenched corruption in the system.
If this section is amended to allow expropriation without compensation, it would amount to no less than economic suicide. Financial markets will undoubtedly divest in South Africa and investor confidence will be shattered.
Agriculture was the best performer across the first three quarters of 2017 and was the largest contributor to our 2% GDP growth in the third quarter.
Securing property rights for all South Africans will be the greatest exercise of empowerment the country has ever seen. Dan Kriek, Agri SA’s president, says the organisation has already developed a strategy that includes funding models and agricultural realities that would enable successful transformation in the agricultural sector.
“We have consistently been asking for security of tenure and property rights for rural communities and emerging farmers and it is time that the ANC sees this as an opportunity to empower new entrants to the agricultural sector and unlock funding mechanisms,” says Kriek.
From a strategic point of view the whole land reform programme was unsuccessful and destroying current production is a poor strategy. We challenge the ANC to explain to South Africans how the proposed amendment of the Constitution would enhance production or successful development of new farmers.
Agriculture has the largest growth potential of any sector in the economy and we should work together to explore and capitalise on this opportunity. We would like to discuss the ANC’s decision with their newly elected president, Cyril Ramaphosa, and top leadership.
We want to expand investor confidence and investment in the agricultural sector to reach our goal of creating jobs as defined in the National Development Plan (NDP).
Agri SA’s existing strategies and recently released land audit has already shown that market forces drive economies – and it is the same for the agricultural economy in South Africa.
Thomas Walters MP – DA Shadow Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform
The Democratic Alliance will stand firmly behind the property clauses in section 25 of the Constitution and in the process stand firm behind the rights of the poor to be included in the economy.
Subsequent to the ANC’s Elective Conference the ANC has indicated that it is in favour of changes in the Constitution that will allow for expropriation without compensation.
It did so in an atmosphere of a divided ANC, increasingly seen as failing to lead South Africa out of poverty and inequality, riven with corruption and maladministration – that is trying to reposition itself as a party of radical economic transformation.
In the process it has shown again that it is unwilling to face up to the real challenges of our society, choosing diversion from the real issues rather than facing up to the real challenges in land reform.
Land Reform in South Africa is not saddled with a flawed Constitution, but is characterised by the following:
- Enormous failure of land reform projects in its care;
- Massive corruption and mismanagement;
- A hesitancy to provide the poor with private title deeds;
- Poor administration of land claims and related processes; and
- Poor resource and budget allocation by an incapable state.
None of these issues is addressed by the calls by the ANC to amend the Constitution.
In fact, these calls are all presupposed on a bigger role for the government in effecting change – the very government that has failed in the first place.
Our Constitution has been misrepresented as protecting the property rights of a few at the expense of the many – a flawed compromise of the early nineties – rather than what it truly is; a Constitution that protects the property rights of the poor and vulnerable against arbitrary loss to a rapacious and divisive state driven by narrow interests.
It is exactly to protect against governments like what the ANC has become who repeatedly demonstrate that government policy is subservient to party interests, that the Constitution was drafted.
Rather than looking at how the Constitution can be given real effect by extending property rights to more South Africans, thus including more people in ownership in the economy, and protecting the rights of such first-time property owners, the ANC has chosen to make the poor more vulnerable and more excluded.
The DA will stand up for our country’s Constitution and property rights in the face of an ANC government which only seeks to enrich themselves at the expense of the people.