Freedom Front Plus
Freedom Front Plus

The Extension of Security of Tenure Amendment Bill is a double-edged sword

The Extension of Security of Tenure Amendment Bill was not properly thought through and can have many unforeseen and negative consequences particularly for landowners, says adv. Anton Alberts, chairperson of the FF Plus.

Today, with the Second Reading debate on the bill, adv. Alberts said that these consequences become evident when one considers the bigger picture of the government’s disastrous land reform program, which has been characterised by poor execution, corruption, animosity towards farmers and the failures of emerging black farmers.

He says that very few title deeds have been handed over to black farmers, they received very little to no support with their farming ventures and the fact that the greater majority have, thus far, preferred money over land indicates that the program is a failure.

“The ideal of the old ESTA legislation was to protect people on rural land and it is illustrative of the ANC’s obsession to try and solve social problems by means of legislation.

“A Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) of the process of moving funds around for the project was not done. It is essential that such a process is dealt with in parliament, but that didn’t happen. As a result, the bill will have to be referred back to the relevant committee.

“One of the serious shortcomings of the bill is that it gives any person the right to bury his/her family on any land. If this is allowed, the landowner could possibly be liable to future land claims.

“Furthermore, given farmers’ legitimate fear of farm attacks and murders, they simply cannot afford to allow strangers’ graves, people attending funerals and rituals on their farms. Nobody in the ANC even thought of that.

“Another inadvertent consequence may be that farmers will simply allow fewer people on their land and that they will mechanise their farming. Ultimately the battle is not between farmers, workers and tenants any longer, but between workers and robots.

“Due to the ANC’s statements about expropriation without compensation, farmers feel uncertain about their ownership of land and it is to be expected that they will not have faith in this new legislation.

“There is, however, a solution and it is that the government should establish agri-towns in partnership with farmers. These towns will be able to generate resources to build houses, schools and hospitals as well as create additional job opportunities. It will enable farm workers to live close to their place of work, while their children have access to education and that will ensure that they will be able to become successful landowners in the future.

“Let’s be more creative in order to find feasible solutions instead of handing out allotments as that is not a permanent solution to the problem,” says adv. Alberts.

• After adv. Alberts’ speech, the minister acknowledged that the suggestion of agri-towns does offer a feasible alternative. Adv. Alberts adds that it’s a pity that the DA supports the bill seeing as it only offers cosmetic solutions and it is like putting a Band-Aid on a festering wound.


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