SAAI is particularly disappointed with the superficial, over-simplified and one-sided version of the history of land ownership (which also contains blatant falsehoods),
which was offered to ideologically justify the rest of the report. As a result, the panel and its members position themselves as inciters of division and racial tension,
rather than a solution-driven influence on the land issue.
SAAI – 28 July 2019
The Southern Africa Agri-Initiative (SAAI) is disappointed with the report presented by the so-called advisory panel of land reform experts to cabinet, and at this stage wants to put forward an opposite view on key aspects of the report.
The report is obviously flawed because it is not morally justifiable that individual landowners, who legally bought their properties, should foot the bill of land reform as a national responsibility.
It avoids any reference to how agricultural financing – as one of the cornerstones of competitive primary production in South Africa – will be affected. Every farmer in South Africa runs the risk of losing a farm or two, but the banks can lose all farms that serve as security for their product financing.
SAAI is particularly disappointed with the superficial, over-simplified and one-sided version of the history of land ownership (which also contains blatant falsehoods), which was offered to ideologically justify the rest of the report. As a result, the panel and its members position themselves as inciters of division and racial tension, rather than a solution-driven influence on the land issue.
In the exaggerated emphasis on the rights of farm squatters, and the concomitant criticism of the application of the security of tenure laws, the unilateral approach of the panel screams to high heaven. There is no hint of a reference to overgrazing, arson, crime or intimidation that landowners have to endure daily in South Africa at the hands of farm squatters, in the worst security environment in the world. The panel’s real intentions are all too obvious.
SAAI also questions the sources on which the panel’s figures for farm evictions are based. If 1 679 471 farm squatters were evicted from farms, and if there are 35 000 commercial farmers, it means that each farmed had evicted an average of 48 people from their farms!
SAAI rejects the panel’s demand that the state should take over, dissolve or destroy the Ingonyama Trust (or any other trust). This is an attack on both the cultural identity and the spiritual goods of the Zulu people, and on trusts as legitimate legal entities. Thousands of immovable properties in South Africa are held in trusts, and the panel does not shed light on how such draconian action will be limited to the Ingonyama Trust. There is no reason to expropriate the Zulu’s historic heartland or to grab it from their hands.
In their proposals for the financing of land reform, the panel displays glaring naivety. Until the world, and especially wealthy South Africans, are convinced that corruption and maladministration are being addressed, and that there are consequences for the perpetrators, voluntary contributions to land reform will not materialise. Who can possibly be expected to make any contributions if they suspect that it will end up in the pockets of untouchable cadres?
SAAI fully endorses the panel’s proposal that title deeds should be transferred to land reform beneficiaries. This will prevent a scenario where, in 10 years’ time, South Africa will again have two categories of farmers: white farmers who own their farms, and black farmers who have been condemned to eternal tenant status on state-leased land. However, this proposal appears incongruous in the same document that also recommends expropriation without compensation – unless the amendment to the Constitution specifies that this applies only to white people.
Presidential report on land reform economically naive and fundamentally racist – intensified campaign envisaged
Afriforum – 28 July 2019
The civil rights organisation AfriForum today announced that it was going to intensify its campaign against expropriation without compensation at local and international level. This follows the release today of the report by the presidential task team on land reform. AfriForum described the report as disregarding basic economic principles and expressed its concern about the racist basis of the report.
Ernst Roets, deputy CEO of AfriForum, said the report was fundamentally racist because it was a continuation of the assumption that the race of a land owner should be a decisive factor in determining the legitimacy of such ownership. “The underlying message of the report is that black ownership is good and white ownership is bad. To support this assumption, a selective approach to history and the facts is followed.”
Roets added that AfriForum was in favour of redress in cases where injustices had occurred, but that such a process should entail examining the specific history of every piece of land. “The report says injustices occurred on certain parts of the surface of South Africa with regard to land ownership but race-based land reform must be conducted across the entire surface of the country.”
Roets added that the presidential task team obviously was economically naive. “The president and the task team often state that land reform should result in economic growth. In fact, however, there is no link between the proposals of the task team and prospects for economic growth. Tampering with the free market, such as the proposed scrapping of the principle of willing buyer, willing seller, will have the opposite effect.”
AfriForum also expressed concern about the proposal of targeting the land of the Ingonyama Trust, in terms of which the Zulu King is acting as trustee on behalf of the Zulu Community, and added that that it would continue taking a stand, together with other communities, against irresponsible land reform.