The approval of the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill by the National Council of Provinces is a serious set-back for agriculture and for the South African economy as a whole. The FF Plus calls on the president to not sign the Bill before he has not fully calculated the economic impact that it will have on agriculture and the economy.
“This year, after the land claims process would have been closed, 16 years after land claims were instituted in 1998, nearly 95% of these claims will have been finalised. This has cost taxpayers millions of rand. It was thought that agriculture could return to normal as the last of the claims are being finalised. Now suddenly, before the election, the ANC comes with this Bill to re-open the land claims process from scratch again,” Dr. Pieter Mulder, the FF Plus leader says.
During the previous land claims process, nearly 80 000 claims were submitted which brought agricultural activities in large areas in the country to a halt. If a claim is lodged against land, the land cannot be sold. Farmers do not expand their activities or invest in the farm at all because they could lose their land any day. Farmers wait in uncertainty for years for a claim to be finalised. After 10 years it was found in many cases that the claim was not valid. The farmers are not compensated by the state for their losses due to the 10 years of uncertainty.
The FF Plus was the only party in Parliament which unconditionally voted against the re-opening of the land claims process. The DA is in favour of the re-opening of the land claims, but set as a pre-condition that only one year instead of five years should be set aside as the period during which new land claims can be lodged.
The state expects 379 000 new land claims which will cost taxpayers up to R179 billion.
“The re-opening of the claims creates expectations with thousands of ANC supporters while the state will not have the financial capability to meet these expectations. This creates the recipe from which revolutions are born – expectations which are not met,” says Dr. Mulder.
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