SA to brief US companies on land reform

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Government is set to start a process of briefing South African based US companies on the land reform programme.

This was one of the resolutions reached following a bilateral meeting between International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and the United States Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, on Friday in New York.

Sisulu also gave Pompeo a detailed briefing about South African land reform, her department said in a statement issued after the meeting.

“The Minister emphasised that the land reform and agrarian reform process will be undertaken within the framework of the Constitution and implemented in a manner that does not affect economic stability and food stability.

“In this regard, the two Ministers agreed to convene a meeting of all South African based US companies to brief them about the land reform process,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said.

Government is proposing a review of Section 25 of the Constitution, which will pave the way for the expropriation of land without compensation due to the fact that despite the country being 23 years into democracy, many South Africans remain dispossessed of land.

The review has been met with mixed emotions, but government has maintained that the expropriation of land without compensation will ensure land is equitably distributed according to need, boost agricultural production and food security, while promoting economic transformation.

The meeting between Sisulu and Pompeo also touched on the steel and aluminium tariffs imposed by the US.

In May, US President Donald Trump signed proclamations imposing a 10% ad valorem tariff on imports of aluminium articles and a 25% ad valorem tariff on imports of steel articles.

South Africa was not exempted in the application of steel and aluminium duties.

South Africa’s steel exports to the US amounted to US$950 million in 2017 and accounted for 1.4% of the US’s global imports. In the case of aluminium, South African exports were at US$375 million in 2017, accounting for 1.6% of US imports from all global suppliers.

In the meeting, Sisulu reiterated South Africa’s call for its exemption from the tariffs.

According to DIRCO, the two Ministers used the occasion to also review the state of bilateral relations between South Africa and the United States, and exchanged views on African and global peace and security issues.

“They expressed satisfaction with the scope and depth of cooperation between the two countries in a wide range of issues, covering political-diplomatic, economic-social, technical, scientific as well as people-to-people cooperation.”

The two Ministers reaffirmed the commitment of their governments and business sectors to intensify and deepen trade and investment relations.

With regards to peace and security matters, Pompeo congratulated South Africa for its election onto the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as the non-permanent member for the period 2019-2020.

Sisulu, in turn, thanked the US for its support and emphasised that South Africa will prioritise the resolution of conflict on the African Continent in pursuit of the African Union’s aspiration of silencing the guns by 2020.

She also welcomed the US’s initiative with regards to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the hope that this will lead to the denuclearisation of the Peninsula.

The two sides agreed to continue exchanging views with regards to the Israel and Palestine situation.

They both underscored that a satisfactory resolution would be based on a two states’ solution. -