Land reform being handled with "care and sensitivity"

Friday, November 23, 2018

Concerns raised by stakeholders in the agricultural sector on expropriation of land without compensation will be addressed with care and sensitivity, Deputy President David Mabuza said on Thursday.

He said this when he responded to questions in the National Assembly on Thursday.

“Honourable Members can be assured that the concerns that have been raised in the interactions with various agriculture stakeholders are going to be addressed by ensuring that the land reform matter is handled with utmost sensitivity and care. 
“Broadly, key stakeholders in the land reform engagements share our view that the land reform programme must be implemented within a constitutionally defined framework. This is the path that our country has chosen. 
“Our government has said that as we embark on this process of accelerated land reform through expropriation without compensation, this must be conducted in a responsible manner without negatively affecting economic growth, investment and agricultural production,” Mabuza said.

The Deputy President’s remarks come not long after the Joint Review Committee adopted a report on amending Section 25 of the Constitution to pave way for expropriation of land without compensation. The report has since been sent to the National Assembly for consideration.  
Addressing MPs on Thursday, the Deputy President, who chairs the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform, said he has assured all stakeholders that this process will be orderly, will not lead to disruption of production.

“In this regard, the President has on several occasions affirmed that there will be no land grabs. 
“We are now looking forward to the completion of the constitutional review process that is unfolding through a parliamentary process. We remain confident that as a country, we are capable of resolving our own challenges in a peaceful and constructive manner,” he said.  

He said South Africans needed to be reminded that the land reform measures that government is embarking on seek to address inequalities of the past that flow from the land dispossession and economic exclusion of the majority. 
“Whereas this issue of land has always been a sensitive matter that is at the heart of what our struggle for freedom was about, there is a general consensus that we have to embark on accelerated land reform programme so that we redress the injustices of the past and ensure that through this process, we harness all efforts of nation-building and social cohesion. 
“As we interact and engage with various stakeholders, there is no doubt that the issue of land expropriation without compensation has generated anxiety among some of the key sectors of society," said Mabuza.

Among some of the key concerns are that this process will result in land grabs, which will fuel social instability; it will erode and undermine critical investments that have been made towards building a competitive agricultural sector in the country; it will cause a decline in agricultural output as farmers hold back investment decisions and it will polarize society, as some organisations distort the objectives of land reform by spreading falsehoods that government is targeting to harm its own white farmers – a race-based narrative intended to divide the nation. –