President Jacob Zuma's criticism of the willing buyer, willing seller land restitution process is misplaced, AfriForum said on Wednesday.
“The ANC continually claims that the willing buyer, willing seller approach is too slow and cumbersome, yet the corruption and incompetence of the department of land reform is overlooked,” AfriForum spokesman Cornelius Jansen van Rensburg said.
In his opening address at the ANC policy conference in Midrand on Tuesday, Zuma called for a review of the policy, echoing the contents of the green paper on land reform.
Zuma said: “Our position is that the current willing buyer, willing seller model must be reviewed.
“It tends to distort the land market through inflating the prices of land earmarked for restitution. It makes land reform expensive and delays land redistribution to the poor.”
But AfriForum said the government should blame the delays on its own bureaucracy.
“Several land claims are dragging on because the state simply does not want to bring them to a close,” Jansen van Rensburg said.
“Moreover, numerous farmers have already provided land for land restitution, but without success.”
Jansen van Rensburg said the proposals in the green paper could have political repercussions and undermine South Africa's property market and economy.
On Tuesday, Zuma reassured South Africans that any changes to the land policy would be done without changing the Constitution. Delegates to the conference would consider policy changes to speed up land reform.
In the lead-up to the four-day event, there had been calls for a change to section 25 of the Constitution, which refers to property rights and sets out conditions for the expropriation of land with compensation.
The ANC's constitution requires that a policy conference be held at least six months before its national conference, to review ANC policies and recommend amendments or new policies.
The policy decisions made at the policy conference will be discussed and finalised at the 53rd ANC national conference in Mangaung, Free State, in December. These policies would form the basis for the ANC government's policies, new laws or amended laws. - Sapa