Re-opening of land claims a big mistake

2014-02-16
Dr Pieter Mulder

The Restitution for Land Rights Amendment Bill is at present before Parliament. According to this, land claims will be re-opened for five years. The re-opening of land claims will cause great uncertainty in the agricultural sector. New claims could result in it taking another twenty years to finalise all the new claims. Political parties which support this legislation are harming commercial agriculture and food security in South Africa.

Due to the possibility of land claims, the majority of farmers are not expanding their agricultural activities at the moment. At this time, the commercial agricultural sector needs security about the future to, through new investments and expansions, ensure that enough food is produced for everyone in future.

What South Africa needs now is for agricultural land which has already been transferred to new black farmers, successfully producing food. South Africa needs more successful black farmers. Nine out of every ten transfers of land have failed according to figures which minister Nkwinti, the minister of rural development and land reform had made available. We cannot afford more fertile land becoming unproductive while the population grows and more food is needed on a daily basis.

The solution for food security lies in another direction. Millions of hectares of fertile agricultural land are lying unused in the former home lands as communal land. As well as are large sections of state land. An important priority of government should be to look for solutions as to how this land can be transferred to private black farmers. Where 70% of all South Africans will be living in cities in the near future, it is important that this land should start to produce food on a commercial basis. At present it is mainly being used for subsistence farming.

The FF Plus is the only party which will be voting against this amendment bill which is threatening food security and the economy.

 

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