Grain SA warns on sensitivities around land issue and finance
It said it would urgently engage the ANC on the contentious issue and that its recent national congress supported a motion emphasising the need and their support for land reform and transformation in the country.
“Grain SA will, as a matter of urgency, seek out and engage with the ruling party and make every effort to reach consensus on all aspects of this matter. Until such time as consensus is reached the current constitution is upheld,” said Grain SA, describing the matter as a difficult and emotional topic.
“Expropriation without compensation not only makes the unlocking of the value of land impossible for new farmers, it also erodes the very foundation on which our current grain production is financed,” the association said.
“Private property rights are recognised around the world and enshrined in our constitution for very good reason. Failure to uphold this will result in a catastrophic collapse of our economy.”
They wanted partners to expedite land reform to achieve sustainability and food security in the country.
The land reform motion was adopted by the National Assembly recently and referred to the Constitutional Review Committee expected to report back to Parliament by August 30.
Agricultural unions including AgriSA and TAU-SA have rallied against the motion, with the latter dismissing it as a declaration of war and legitimising theft.
Speaking at an event organised by the industry stakeholders to discuss the matter in Pretoria last week, AgriSA executive director Omri van Zyl said that the constitution must not be changed to get land, as there were other alternatives that could be explored.
He was echoed by Agricultural Business Chamber chief executive Dr John Purchase, who said: “Our position is very clear: The constitution should not be changed Property rights need to be protected as they are the basis of wealth creation.”
Business rights watchdog AfriBusiness also weighed in on the matter, saying the motion “must be opposed with all might”.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said they had always exercised an open door policy with stakeholders representing various sections of society.
“We are open to meeting them (Grain SA) and making them understand that our policies on land reform and redistribution are not meant to undermine agricultural production. They are the most progressive way in which to get the land back,” said Mabe.