A sugarcane harvester. File photo: Alexandre Meneghini
A sugarcane harvester. File photo: Alexandre Meneghini

Land limits ‘will kill growth’

By Sharika Regchand Time of article published Jun 5, 2015

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Durban - Capping land ownership to 12 000ha a farmer would stunt investment and jobs, restrict and reduce growth in the sector, go against global trends and ultimately ignore the real issue of creating successful farmers.

These were the views of DA MPL Francois Rodgers in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature yesterday. He was commenting in a debate on a motion raised by the ANC’s Siboniso Duma on land ownership.

Up for discussion were the issues of foreigners being able to lease but not own agricultural land, the equitable distribution of arable land and no farmer being able to own more than 12 000ha.

President Jacob Zuma announced in his State of the Nation address early this year that foreigners would be restricted from owning land in South Africa.

A bill in this regard would be submitted this year.

In terms of the proposed new law, no individual would be able to own more than 12 000ha of land.

Duma said the province needed to produce more farmers and that 3 000ha was more than adequate.

“Almost all developed countries don’t allow foreigners to own land,” Duma argued.

Rodgers said farmworkers should be encouraged to become farm owners through the National Development Plan’s approach to equity schemes. He said effective land reform was a moral and political imperative.

“Land reform failures in the past 21 years represent a lost opportunity to empower a pool of South Africans for economic participation.”

Nhlanhla Msimang of the IFP said farmers were the backbone of the economy, which was why the ANC had a problem with commercial farmers. The government should ascertain how much land it owned through a land audit and distribute state land to emerging farmers.

Bonga Nzuzu of the NFP said the land reform process had failed. He said foreigners should not own agricultural land, but lease it.

The EFF’s Vusi Khoza said 12 000ha of land was too much for one family.

The Mercury

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