“The Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) has noted with disappointment and deep concern the resolution adopted by the ANC Elective Conference to amend the Constitution of South Africa to effect land expropriation without compensation, albeit subject to certain caveats and conditions regarding sustainability,” Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz, stated today.
“The negative impact on commercial farmers, the finance and agribusiness sectors, food security and the economy of the country as a whole would potentially be catastrophic, while the resolution will undermine property rights, investment into the broader sector and the proper functioning of the land market.”
Agbiz believes that there are far better ways of achieving accelerated land reform with less risk to investors, or to loss of business confidence in the sector, and that these proposed models should be meaningfully tested and implemented. The perceived slow pace of land reform is primarily due to poor programme design and implementation. As identified by the High-Level Panel chaired by former President Mothlante, budgetary constraints are not the biggest obstacle to achieving meaningful and sustainable land reform and as such an amendment to the Constitution will not resolve the real challenges hampering land reform in our country.
“With regard to today’s resolution and certain clarification comments on the matter at the ANC Conference, Agbiz will await the details of the proposed plan and consider the outcomes of future engagements with the ANC and other stakeholders. Agbiz welcomes the call to further engagement on this highly contentious issue and on the sustainability test that will need to be investigated and thoroughly researched to ensure evidence-based policy formulation. This approach would be in line with that adopted in the recently released Report on Key Legislation by the High Level Panel, chaired by former President Kgalema Motlanthe. Agbiz also welcomes the call that no illegal occupation of land will be tolerated,” Dr John Purchase concluded.