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SA moves to soothe investor fears over land grabs

Land minister has given assurances that the contentious process won’t degenerate into a free-for-all.
Image: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

As South Africa revises its legal framework to make it easier to take property without paying for it, the nation’s land minister has given assurances that the contentious process won’t degenerate into a free-for-all.

The ruling African National Congress decided in December 2017 to change the constitution to explicitly allow for expropriation without compensation. Lawmakers have been deliberating since then how the changes should be effected. The government this month published a revised version of its Expropriation Bill that’s been in the works since 2008 and specifies which property can be taken — including land held for speculative purposes or owned by absent landlords.

The government has been engaging with investors to clarify why land reform is needed, emphasised that there won’t be wholesale gazetting of land for seizure and designated the courts to be the final arbiters in any disputes, Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza said.

“The response has been positive, there is an appreciation for what we are doing,” she said in an interview. “I think everybody wants to be assured that it will be done in a legal framework and in a fair manner.”

Farmers’ lobby groups argue that constitutional changes are unnecessary and will deter investment, and accuse the government of failing to implement existing land-reform policies. Racially skewed land-ownership patterns in South Africa that stem from colonial and White-minority rule persist more than a quarter century after the ANC took power, a status quo that’s caused rising resentment among Black citizens who account for more than 80% of the population.

Didiza defended the changes, saying the constitutional amendments will set out the broad policy parameters and the Expropriation Bill will provide a legal framework so there is no ambiguity about what the government can or can’t do.

Constitutional amendments will require the backing of two-thirds of lawmakers, a margin the ANC lacks. While the radical Economic Freedom Fighters, which supports the nationalisation of all land, could provide the requisite additional support, the two parties are at loggerheads over what needs to change.

The EFF has already opposed the Expropriation Bill on the grounds that it “presumes that the constitutional amendment process will not result in any fundamental changes to land laws in this country and that it will continue being business as usual.” It has also objected to the courts playing a role in determining how much compensation should be paid for land.

“I don’t think you can avoid the rights of people to appeal to courts for adjudication of a dispute,” over the amount of compensation that is paid even if it results in delays, Didiza said. “That is what the courts are for.”

© 2020 Bloomberg


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It was in Zimbabwe in 2000 that Robert Mugabe assured commercial farmers about land expropriation: “Don’t listen to what I say, watch what I do”.

We all know how that ended. The assurances of politicians are worth nothing. You can trust a politician as far as you can throw him/her.

“All for one and one for all”

That should be the motto of the ANC

The corrupt elite are already licking their lips to lay their dirty corrupt paws on land they have eyed!

Think they care about the impoverished and poor? Righting the wrongs of the past is an excuse to fatten their already bloated wallets

Look at our Northern neighbor. You cannot trust a word a Politician says..

they even lie in their dreams

The minister’s assurances count for naught if the proposed law says they can take someone’s property that they paid for regardless of the assurance. The only assurance that counts is the one that’s written in law.

The ANC government, masters at attempting to have their cake and eat it.

The government fears to talk about the land owned by our royals; fearing a backlash. Many citizens has build homes on royal property. Imagine if title deeds can be issued for these properties? Suddenly citizens will be able to borrow using this property as collateral.

Investors are wise to question land grabs; when Ramaphosa took over from Zuma and was asked on one of his investor-road shows overseas, he said emphatically: “There are NO farm killings and NO land grabs!”
International investors should visit SA -not as guest of government, but as guest of the farmer unions. White and black unions and farm commodity organisations before investing – otherwise they should read the local press daily!

How about a law that will take away a minibus from a taxi-boss that owns more than one taxi? It must be given to a previously disadvantaged individual who never had the privilege of owning a taxi business before. Woman, youth and people with disabilities should be first in line. It must all be done within a perfectly legal framework (obviously once changing the current laws) and everyone will be so happy. It is surely easier to take away a taxi from someone than a farm?

Great idea, Japie. In fact, it is now time to declare that PAIs (Presently Advantaged Individuals) – i.e. ministers in the ANC and EFF and all Public Servants – must forfeit half of their monthly salaries and give them to women, the poor, youth and people with disabilities. Seems perfectly reasonable to me for current wealth to be redistributed in this way by the PAIs.

Can’t wait. So in the end, SA will have many eager emerging farmers adding to national food production.

After 2 decades witnessing the effects of AA/BEE through workplaces (the state & private sector) I am positive to have very high hopes for our agriculural sector….for the simple reason that most AA/BEE candicates have proven to excel at their work output; have above-average work-ethics and dilligent; are highly skilled, in fact they get paid much less than what they’re worth.

Proof is in SA been moving up in various international rankings (econ & socio)…we are almost to to top of global rankings. Proof that AA/BEE worked well. And our economy has grown from apartheid years to almost 10% of global economy.

Hence my enthusiasm of seeing new farmers entering the fray. These people are extremely capable in what they are doing. Please don’t disappoint me. I hold you in high regard.

I doubt you know the agricultural sector; you confuse real black farmers/land beneficiaries with BEE beneficiaries. Like Herman Mashaba who is a successful businessman without government help or BEE, many black farmers -young and old – farm successfully, expand their operations and export! Some rent land others own it – what a pity you’re so uninformed. Read Farmers Weekly and Landbouweekblad.

@Louise. Fair enough…and how many emerging farmers did not make it through? (…the media typically focus always on the few successful ones at the top….to make a nice cover story or article). Don’t get me wrong, I WANT to see emerging farmers succeed…but it’s going to be a matter of “too few and far between”

So what went wrong in Zim’s agric production? The average Zimbabwean has a higher work ethic & skill-set than many ethnic South Africans. So we can do it better….in a country that has less rainfall than Zim?


…me farming? No.

Reading Farmers Weekly? No. (got as far as glancing over contents page last week’s edition)

But I can do one better: how about being in contact with the farming community, and I can provide you names of real farmers I know through family/friends/clients:
…in Ermelo (client)
…in Hoopstad (retired farmer friend, with his son farming)
…in Heilbron (far side of inlaws)
…in Moorreesburg (friend & MW commentator)
…in Wellington (friend of my father & ex-teacher of Hoer Landbouskool Paarl)
…in Riebeek Kasteel (late granddad’s had farm, now today it’s FelixCafe/Old Oak Guesthouse.)
And I’ll throw in to state that I have Max du Preez on my phone speed-dail. Dawie Roodt’s as well. (Met both in 2017…what a pleasure). Nataniel, the Afrikaans musician ‘Kaalkop’, that is my 2nd cousin (no joke)…but he knows dangerously little about farming.

Here is (an off topic) website from the US Oceanographic & Climate Prediction Centre, as updated, which has implications for farmers on a global scale.
Since I’m uninformed, may I ask what is your analysis on the website below & specifically the implication for SA’s farmers in the summer rainfall region?

Your sarcasm is awesome

Food and grain importers must be waiting with abated breath as Cyril announces his late Dawn project to that of diligent “New Dawn Farmers”

Second cousin of Nataliel! Well…that certainly adds up to a mitigating circumstances in your favour!
I’m his very biggest fan, the biggest voice EVER! And the MOST polished act on stage!

Land grabs are the crudest, the most unsophisticated infringement of property rights. It is only one form of plunder.

There are many infringements of property rights, or alternative forms of land grabs, that are accepted as normal in South Africa. A BEE law that forces an entrepreneur to finance a group of people to “buy” 30% of his business while he takes those shares as collateral, is a legalised land grab. It implies that he was forced, by law, to give 30% of his business away. When the government implements a system of redistributive rates and taxes, where the value of your property is syphoned off to build infrastructure in the township, then a part of your property has been expropriated without compensation. Redistrubitve rates and taxes are legalised land grabs.

The price of unreliable electricity, the public sector wage bill, the effects of cadre-deployment, the crime rate, the cost of bankrupt municipalities and SOEs, and the effect it has on the economy, are forms of land grabs. Progressive taxation and all the various forms of taxes on capital formations are legalised land grabs. The Mining Charter is a legalised land grab. It is the expropriation without compensation of the property of the entrepreneur.

The nationalisation of mineral rights, the nationalisation of water rights, the nationalisation of farmworkers houses through the security of tenure law and stock theft are forms of land grabs.

Property owners suffer under a constant and relentless wave of land grabs, a feeding frency of the socialists, that were legalised and condoned by the ANC, and then they say that they won’t allow land grabs?

What is EWC other than a land grab.


The “investors” she spoke to are ALL to dumb to put one and one together.

Whahahaaaaahahaaaaa. Get ready for sanctions!!!!

….NO NEED FOR SANCTION when it comes to sink SA economically.

The ANC is like a warship launching a torpedo, which defectively runs along a circle in the water, just to hit its own same ship.

The aftermath of Malema’s inflammatory speech last week in Senekal is now playing out in the western Free State. Hertzogville fires.

Locals are chanting songs about calling the fire brigade and Burn the Boer. Just a version on the supposed banned hate speech song that the EFF ignores.

Those people ate burning open air food factories, a mans life’s work, his home, his income. Then the animals, herds of cattle burned and this fool goes on about no land grabs.

This is a form of land grab, it is even more plain terrorism.

…the EFF complaining about the Farmers, with their MOUTHES FULL”

It is impossible for the minister to guarantee that land grabs will not degenerate into chaos. Can she read the future for the next 20 to 50 years. Once the law is changed it can be misused by future politicians for their own goals. And if anyone believes that a politician will not misuse anything to get reelected is living in a dreamworld.

Remember the ANC’s strategy ……Say one thing …..Do the opposite.
But investors are NOT stupid. The rest of the world knows what’s going on. The rest of the world knows about the killing of farmers. The rest of the world knows about the arson and looting of shops, and the burning of trucks on the highways. The rest of the world knows about the control of the country by the unions, the Cape gangsters, the construction mafias, the ……

We wont take your land – for sure. Land of others – yes , but not yours. Believing this ANC BS is dangerous.

End of comments.





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