Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

JOHANNESBURG- Agribusiness association Agbiz said on Friday it was disappointed and concerned at the recommendation by the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) to amend South Africa's Constitution to explicitly allow for land expropriation without compensation.

President Cyril Ramaphosa's government says this is necessary to speed up reforms through the redistribution of land forcibly taken from blacks by white settlers centuries ago.

"Agbiz has consistently maintained that it is not necessary to amend the Constitution to effect land reform in South Africa, and this proposed amendment to the Constitution will impact negatively on much-needed investment and harm the economy”, Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase said.

He said while the recommendation was not surprising given sentiments expressed during provincial public hearings, "it would however have been a positive and constructive step if the conditions under which land expropriation without compensation could take place had accompanied the CRC’s recommendations".

Agbiz would engage on the Constitution Amendment Bill or parliamentary motion that need to be drafted and make oral submissions to parliament, Purchase said.

He said policy uncertainty stemming from the land expropriation plans would continue to impact negatively on the broader agriculture and agribusiness sectors, and also play on sentiment in the economy as a whole.

Constructive engagement with government and parliament was the only plausible way to resolve the land question in South Africa, Agbiz said.

- African News Agency (ANA)