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SA seeks ban on foreigners buying agricultural land

Bill proposes long leases for foreigners, minority holdings.

South Africa has proposed a new law banning foreigners directly buying agricultural land in the country as the government seeks to boost ownership for the black majority.

Non-residents will be allowed to take long leases on the properties or the land should be majority owned by a black South African, according to the Regulation of Agricultural Land Holdings Bill, published in the Government Gazette on Friday. The proposal is open for public comment until April 17.

The ruling African National Congress is seeking to accelerate the transfer of land to the black majority to help reduce inequality and reverse the legacy of white-minority rule. President Jacob Zuma has also vowed to step up wealth distribution, promising “radical economic transformation” in his final year as leader of the party. While Zuma has suggested changing the constitution to allow the state to expropriate land without paying for it, an ANC policy document calls for fair compensation.

Foreigners considering selling land must give the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform first option on the property, according to the bill. The government would have 90 days to take up the offer, after which it can be sold to a citizen.

The minister will also impose limits on the size of farms people can own, depending on the region and following consultation, according to the document.

The “increasingly populist rhetoric” from Zuma about land doesn’t signal a sharp shift in policy, but it may harm investor sentiment, BMI Research, a unit of Fitch Ratings Ltd., said in an emailed note.

“While President Jacob Zuma has begun to adopt an increasingly populist tone in his discussions of land reform, the policy measures put forward by the ruling African National Congress are likely to remain more moderate, it said. “That said, the more left-leaning policy statements will offer continued headwinds to investor sentiment, further undermining growth.”

© 2017 Bloomberg

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In a country where we have some of the best farmers on the planet, we should need no need to have foreigners buy our farm land. We should cultivate continuing corps of farmers from the young and emerging aspiring entrepreneurs. Our youth should aspire to make the soil our bank, not to be waiting in some fancy restaurant waiting for minestrone soup, while someone else who could pull the plug plows, sows, and reaps the benefits of their land.

Yes, so did Zimbabwe had some of the best farmers on the planet. We want the foreigners to invest in our businesses and economy. Sorry to say but most off those best farmers is currently farming in Zambia, Congo, and even Georgia. Unfortunately you do not aspire to become a farmer, you can not go and learn to be a farmer, farming is in your blood.

If a foreigner can provide work and food sustainability, bringing to SA the much needed capital and investments, to develop any initiatives, we must now exclude them from land.

South Africa is not the only country for foreigners to take their money to. Populist / socialist land transformation is only going to speed up food shortages, prise increases , job losses and hunger to the masses, and you will not even have the minestrone soup.

Why is it a problem who own the farm, same as who own the consultant or IT business? exclude the foreigners from one segment, but beg him to invest in another, this is kindergarten politics.

Learn from history and the African continent, Learn from Zim, and ask the Mau-Mau how well they eaten after their land reform strategies to name but two, but in SA we like to have history repeat itself and with all the consequences, and the “people are happy”, hungry and waiting for “foreign food aid”.

Government must stop playing politics to stay in power and to gain the rural voters – X, but take the responsibility to govern. Good and honest govern will keep you in power, scams and schemes and corruption – again just look at history.

Best farmers in the world? Where do you get this from? Compare some statistics between the US and SA agricultural sector about productivity. Less than 2% of the US population produces enough not only to feed the population but large part of the rest of the world too. SA is a net importer of food.

People in the developed world find it quite revealing that while Africa is endowed with some of the most fertile soil and best rainfall on earth, Africans still suffer from widespread famine on a regular basis. There can be only one logical conclusion, famine is the result of failed socialist policies and not a lack of rainfall.

Now we can go further and ask who appoints these politicians and who supports these failed policies? Africans choose famine over property rights time and again. If they willingly make this choice, don’t they deserve the inevitable outcome?

This infringement on property rights by the ANC government is the paving of good intention on the road to hell.

“Legal plunder has two roots: One of them, as I have said before, is in human greed; the other is in false philanthropy.”
― Frédéric Bastiat, The Law

My biggest worry after travelling into many areas in S.A is that there is vast amounts of fertile dormant land be it in rural areas or minority owned land. There has been vast technological advancement in farming like in Australia, Brazil, USA and we need those skills in this country to progress so blocking foreigners from buying land is shooting ourselves in the foot, maybe regulate and limit how they buy. I think current gvt has failed to create employment and are now using these tactics to calm the ever growing noise from the electorate. We need to be honest with ourselves that the majority of people in S.A are not really interested in farming hence the mass migration to urban areas (Leaving behind arable land) to look for a formal job.

that’s a small step towards expropriation of ALL land held by colonialists. I myself have no problems with this except to wonder why it has taken so long!

No land is held by colonialists in SA or elsehwere in Africa.

If so please provide the address.

95% of farmers have a bond on their farm to finance production loans. The value of their land is the collateral for this loan. The value of land is determined by the balance between the supply of land and the demand for land. When government bans part of the demand (foreigners), what happens to the value of land? What effect will this have on the farmer’s access to production loans and ability to buy seed and fertilizer?

This socialist government have got no idea what the negative results of their actions will be. The populace will be pleading with farmers for food, while the farmers will be pleading with the banker for money, who in turn will be pleading with government to respect property rights. This will lead to many anxious, hungry and violent people.

Breaking up commercial farms,”The minister will also impose limits on the size of farms people can own” is same as closing down Pick-Pay, Spar, Shoprite and OK and open spaza shops on all street corners.

Quite, tell Raymond he may only have 5 PnPs and Whiteys’ successor that they also may only have 5 stores. This is so typical of the ANC trying to get votes by spewing garbage that the 30 million that they keep uneducated in the rural areas will swallow.

We must not forget the speech that Harold Macmillan a British prime minister made in Cape Town before parliment in 3 Feb 1960.This was before Britain gave independence to its African territories.This speech said that the winds of change that will be blowing over Africa will reach South Africa.The wind is blowing very strong at the moment

dunno where you come from with best farmers – my experience is that a lot of the commercial farmers are a fat and lazy lot.
i know of one who went to Oz and he could’nt hack it- too accustomed to sitting in the bakkie out of the heat smoking cigarettes while his labourers did the hard graft.
also we cannot compete with other countries in producing chicken at a competetive price etc etc – our farmers need a reality check.

For the one u know, I know of plenty who made it. Don’t generalise most managers sit in their air-con office and the “labourers do the hard graft”, just the way it is in business, and at the end farming is just a business. To produce at completive prises like you need a competitive economy, witch we totally lack.

@geranium – hang on there sport. There’s a lot more to the chicken debate than just competitiveness. The EU producers, for one, benefit from EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) direct aid (although the EU suspended the payment of export subsidies it still provides for so-called “export refunds” i.e. “aid granted in exceptional circumstances to exporters which covers the difference between the internal EU price and the world market price”). According to European Commission data exports are of the lower value order (1.37 EUR/kg) but the range of products as well as the range of destinations is much wider. Half of exports are shared between five destinations (South Africa, Benin, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine) while the other half goes to a long list of countries.

The US producers sell their white meat in the USA and are able to dump the rest of the chicken on the SA market. This is not fair trade in any sense of the word!

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