Bill on the re-opening of land claims opposed

Dr Pieter Groenewald

A motion in the National Assembly on the Restitution of Land Claims Amendment Bill was opposed by the FF Plus today. The motion was however passed after the Freedom Front Plus had asked for a division of votes. Only the FF Plus opposed the motion. According to the Amendment Bill, land claims will be re-opened for another five years.

“The re-opening of land claims will create huge uncertainty in the agricultural sector. New claims could mean that it could take another twenty years for all the land claims to be finalised. Political parties which support this Amendment Bill are harming commercial agriculture and food security in South Africa. The Bill also compromises property rights, which forms the cornerstone of a free market economy. If the ANC is serious about food security and economic stability in South Africa, they will withdraw the Bill,” Dr. Pieter Groenewald, the Parliamentary Leader of the FF Plus says.

Due to the possibility of a land claim, the majority of farmers are no longer expanding their agricultural activities at present. The commercial agricultural sector of South Africa needs certainty about the future now to ensure new investments and expansions so that enough food is produced for everyone in the future.

What South Africa needs at this juncture is for agricultural land which has already been transferred to black farmers to successfully produce food. South Africa needs more successful black commercial farms. Nine out of every ten land parcels which have been transferred have failed according to figures which Minister Nkwinti, the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform had made available. We cannot afford that more fertile land becomes unproductive while the population grows and more food is needed on a daily basis.

The solution for food security lies in a different direction. Millions of hectares of fertile agricultural land currently lie unused in the former home lands as communal land. So too does large portions of state land. An important priority of government should be to look for solutions how this land could be transferred to private black farmers. As 70% of all South Africans will be living in cities in the near future, it is important that this land starts to produce food on a commercial basis. Currently it is mostly used for subsistence farming.


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