Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill

2014-02-25
Dr Pieter Mulder

Speaker,

Verlede week, toe ons oor aspekte van hierdie wet moes stem, het die VF Plus daarteen gestem terwyl die ANC en die DA daarvoor gestem het. Hoekom het ons so gestem?

For a period of five years up to 1998, any person could institute a land claim. A total of approximately 80 000 (79 696) claims were instituted. These claims brought agricultural activities to a halt in large sections across the country. When a claim is instituted against land, one cannot sell the land. One does not expand or invest in the farm because the land can be lost tomorrow. One waits in uncertainty for years for a claim to be finalised. After ten years it was found in numerous cases that the claim was not valid. The farmer’s loss as a result of the ten years of uncertainty was not repaid by the state. Today, sixteen years later, nearly 95% of these claims have been finalised. It has cost taxpayers millions. Fortunately the end is in sight and agriculture can return to normal – or so we thought. Now suddenly, before the election, the ANC comes with this Amendment Bill to re-open the land claims process from scratch. This paralyses agriculture for the next 20 years and brings about great uncertainty.

On the other hand the ANC is creating new expectations with a lot of people. Some 379 000 new land claims are likely to be submitted. This could cost the state about R179bn to settle. The restitution budget is roughly only R3bn a year. How then is the state to find the money to settle all these claims?

If all these new expectations cannot be fulfilled, it is a recipe for revolution. I want to predict that the ANC’s re-opening of land claims will in future turn against them.

Do we want to become a modern developed country or do we want to become just another under-developed country? It is in the best interest of all South Africans that we move forward to become a modern developed country capable of competing with the rest of the world. To succeed in this we must rethink the land issue. The ANC is continuing to nurse the notion that they can reverse the inevitable march toward an urban future. We are wasting valuable time and energy trying to restore people to their old ways. Ordinary South Africans want to go to cities and work in a modern economy.

Mondli Makhanya wrote: “It is not because black people cannot farm. It is because time has moved on from the time the apartheid government was carrying out its forced- removal policies.

“The money and energy that is spent on getting people back into subsistence farming would be better used to create a strong class of black commercial farmers who actually do farm for commercial rather than sentimental reasons.”

South Africa needs more successful black commercial farmers. The Freedom Front Plus together with the majority of commercial farmers is more than willing to help new farmers to be successful. Mentorships and cooperation between experienced and new farmers are some of the ways in which to achieve this.

To merely chase hectares and add 400 00 new land claims to the department’s list will not solve the problems. We need food for the 70% urbanised population in the future. We cannot afford more fertile land becoming unproductive while the population is growing. Hungry people, running in the streets are the recipe for instability and the fall of governments. The FF Plus will vote against this Bill.

 

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