Parliament debate on land expropriation irrational: AgriSA

Johannesburg, 28 February 2018 - The people of Wallmansthal, north of Pretoria say the ANC government has failed them. eNCA's Michael Appel is out in Wallmansthal, where a successful land claim has resulted in tensions.​ Video: eNCA
Johannesburg, 28 February 2018 - With the turn of democracy, the promise was made to dispossessed black South Africans that this injustice would be addressed. It was hoped that the Restitution of Land Rights act would do this. Video: eNCA
File: AgriSA argued that without loans, farmers could not purchase seed, fertiliser, feed or implements and would be unable to produce. Photo: Pixabay / sspiehs3

JOHANNESBURG - Farming group AgriSA said Parliament failed to rationally argue the impacts for agriculture and the economy while debating a motion to amend the constitution to pave way for land expropriation.

Parliament on Tuesday voted to amend property clauses in South Africa's supreme law, to pave way for the government’s policy of acquiring land without compensation, which it says is necessary to redistribute land forcibly taken from blacks during white rule.

The motion, brought by the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters, was supported by the ruling African National Congress, leading to a 241/ 83 vote in its favour.

The main opposition Democratic Alliance voted against the motion, saying there was already a land redistribution programme in place, which the government was not doing enough to implement.

The DA and other critics say land expropriation without compensation undermines property rights in South Africa.

AgriSA said politics and emotion had dominated Tuesday’s debate on land in the National Assembly.

WATCH: MPs agree to EFF's motion on land expropriation, with amendments

“Rational arguments regarding the possible implications that such a step may hold for the agricultural sector and the broader economy were absent from the debate,” it said.

“The fact is that financial institutions are substantially invested in the sector and that expropriation without compensation will also impact negatively on the banking sector.

"Such a step will probably lead to a situation where financial institution will no longer make production loans available to farmers.”

Without loans, farmers could not purchase seed, fertiliser, feed or implements and would be unable to produce, it argued.

The EFF has dismissed concerns about threats to food security as unfounded.

The proposed amendment will now be referred to the Constitutional Review Committee which must report back to Parliament by 30 August.

African News Agency

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