Caution on land redistribution – farmers

Picture: Thinkstock

Picture: Thinkstock

Government must ensure that national priorities including food security and economic stability are not jeopardised when land redistribution is rolled out, the Agri-Sector Unity Forum (Asuf) said on Tuesday.

“Land will be redistributed in this country. We all accept that. It is just a matter of how. It should be done in such a way that it would be affordable. It should be done in such a way that most of the people in this country buy into it,” Asuf chairman Japie Grobler said in Pretoria.

“We should at least have food for our people in this country. While doing the redistribution and after it, we should be exporting food to earn foreign currency. We should have peace and quiet in the country.”

Grobler made the remarks at the third annual conference of the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa, which began on Sunday.

He said proper pre-planning and management were critical for the reallocation programme.

“We have to plan accordingly. We also have to implement correctly. If we do not implement (land redistribution) it would be very wrong. We might see people just grabbing land,” said Grobler.

Last week, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said the law would not allow South Africa to embark on a land redistribution process similar to that in Zimbabwe.

“In South Africa it’s not going to work. Even as we say the 50/50 [proposal] farmers say ‘we don’t agree’. They say ‘no, it’s wrong’. They send me smses. They put it as bluntly as that,” he told reporters in Pretoria.

“They say it’s unconstitutional, and they are right. That is the beauty of our country. Our country is a constitutional democracy.”

The 50/50 proposal involves giving 50 percent of farms to farmworkers and was widely criticised as ill-considered and unacceptable.

“When we published the 50/50 proposal, the very first call I got on a Sunday morning was from the secretary general of the ANC, Gwede Mantashe.

He said ‘I have bought myself a farm for R2 million and now you want to nationalise R1 million’,” said Nkwinti.

During the past five years there had been indications that the restitution process had a record of failure.



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