Posted by: kvsonghai | 16 March, 2010

Land Rights: SA Farmers Furious at ‘National Asset’ Threat to Land Rights [BusinessDay, South Africa]

The BusinessDay Newspaper reported today, that:

FARMERS’ union AgriSA held an emergency meeting with Department of Rural Development and Land Reform director-general Thozi Gwanya yesterday to discuss his department’s proposals that productive farmland be nationalised.Similar suggestions made in the past did not materialise, but caused investor jitters in a sector sorely in need of capital inflows. “This thinking is not new in the department, but we are a bit shocked because it contradicts President Jacob Zuma ‘s recent assurances to investors in London about nationalisation,” AgriSA’s land reform spokesman and deputy president Theo de Jager said yesterday.

The plan moots speeding up land reforms by amending the constitution to turn “all productive land” into “a national asset” leased to farmers.

Another option mooted was to retain the current freehold tenure system but impose a ceiling on the number or size of landholdings owned by individuals.

Property rights of foreign owners could face further restrictions. A board may be set up to “manage agricultural land transactions”, the plan said.

The proposals are contained in the department’s strategic plan tabled in Parliament last week. They will culminate in a Tenure System Reform Bill expected to be tabled in March 2012.

Spokesman Eddie Mohoebi said yesterday he could not elaborate on the proposals or clarify Gwanya’s position on farm nationalisation until the department’s draft green paper was submitted to the Cabinet.”

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