Mar 15, 2010

Afrikaner: Freedom Front Plus Opposes Land Proposal

Active ImageThe South African government is considering declaring agricultural land a "national asset" and institute a quit-rent land tenure system, in which the farmer pays rent to the state, which owns the land.
Below is an article published by Times LIVE:

"The Democratic Alliance will vehemently oppose any attempt by the ANC government to amend Section 25 of the Constitution, the provision that protects private property against expropriation," it said in a statement.

It was reacting to an article in Afrikaans newspaper Rapport that the government was considering declaring agricultural land a "national asset" and institute a quit-rent land tenure system, in a Green Paper to be published shortly. In such a system the farmer pays rent to the state, which owns the land.
Director general of the rural development and land reform department, Thozi Gwanya, was quoted as saying problems with land reform showed the system of land ownership had to change.

He said one of the options suggested by his department was that all agricultural land be declared a national asset. The other option was to keep the current land ownership system, but cap the amount of land owned by an individual.

The Freedom Front Plus said declaring agricultural land a national asset would amount to nationalising it. Party leader Pieter Mulder said such a move would be unconstitutional, chase investors away and destroy food security.

If a so-called quit-rent land tenure system became government policy, it would create insecurity in rural areas, which would hamper rural development.

The DA's deputy shadow rural development minister Annette Steyn, said declaring all agricultural land a nation asset effectively meant nationalising it.

"The President (Jacob Zuma) has just come back from overseas where he categorically moved to assure investors that nationalisation is not on the ANC's agenda."

Such a move would wreak havoc for the country's investment prospects, the agricultural sector and for improving land reform.

Gwanya denied that declaring land a national asset was the same as nationalisation.

The Afrikanerbond said it would consider reactivating the ad hoc group for the protection of property rights to oppose the department's proposals. When the Expropriation Bill was published in 2008, 17 organisations from civil society and political parties formed the group.

"The possibility that Section 25, as contained in the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, and which deals with property rights may be amended to accommodate this ill-considered proposal, is a stark reminder of the equally ill considered expropriation bill which was mooted in 2008 and was clearly unconstitutional," the organisation's Jan Bosman said in a statement.

According to Rapport, the aim of such a system was to ensure that farms that had already been redistributed, but not being used productively, be taken back and given to someone else.

Rural Development Minister Gugile Nkwinti, recently acknowledged that about 90 percent of the 5.9 million hectares of agricultural land in the state's hands were uncultivated and considered fallow.