Farmers: We have a better plan for land reform
AgriSA says it is strongly against amending the Constitution to allow expropriation
SA’s largest agricultural union, AgriSA, says its commercial farmers are “heavily” against the amendment of Section 25 of the constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation.
The farmers, according to AgriSA president Dan Kriek, are “very nervous” and uncertain around the fate of their land should a constitutional amendment be passed in parliament.
Speaking to Times Select at the close of a meeting between the union and representatives of the ANC in Centurion on Friday, Kriek said AgriSA is in favour of transformation and has “better” solutions.
“We do say that it is not necessary to amend the Constitution. We base our arguments heavily on the report by former president Kgalema Motlanthe (the high-level panel on the assessment of key legislation). He (Motlanthe) states very clearly that it is not the Constitution nor the fact that compensation is payable that is to blame for the slow pace of land reform; there are other factors that he names in there, especially lack of co-ordination, lack of implementation, and corruption,” Kriek said.
“We are heavily in favour of transformation; we have better plans and better alternatives than changing the Constitution. The whole debate has created a massive amount of uncertainty. The Constitution is written to guard and protect the citizens from the excesses of government.”
Kriek said it is common knowledge that the ANC is not unanimous on the amendment of the Constitution.
“There is lots of uncertainty in the sector and people spoke about that to the ANC. The commercial farmers do not agree to amend the Constitution; they are heavily against it. They are very nervous now, and everybody with the state of our economy should take cognizance of the fact of how uncertain people are,” he said.
“There are mixed messages in SA. You have various politicians saying various things. The governing party themselves, it is common knowledge that they are not unanimous on this.”
Speaking at the opening of Friday’s meeting, ANC election head Fikile Mbalula said land will be “demonopolised” through a constitutional process.
“One thing that is not going to happen is to nationalise land. Land will be demonopolised; it will be made to be constitutional ... What concerns us now are modalities and all other technical aspects of the matter. We are concerned about the entire value chain and are alive to it‚” said Mbalula.
“We are after a constructive resolution of the expropriation of land‚ which now will include non-compensation. Today‚ our role is to listen to concerns and lay any fears of economic and social mayhem away. We will never subscribe to land grabbing in South Africa. We are orderly and we are organised in what we do.”