Ernst Roets, deputy chief executive at AfriForum, said their main goal was to break the secrecy around the farms to be expropriated.
“At this stage, we don’t know what the status of the document is. But that does not change the fact that it is there. The point is that we are trying to break this silence so that the government can come clean and release the list of farms they want to expropriate. They want to keep everything a secret in order to prevent farmers from taking court action,” Roets said.
AfriForum has been slammed for releasing the list and accused of fear-mongering while a parliamentary process is still under way. At the same time the government has denied the veracity of AfriForum’s list.
Linda Page, spokesperson for the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, said the government had no idea where AfriForum obtained the list.
“There is no list within the department that is circulating about farms that are to be expropriated. There are disputes pertaining to land claims and labour tenant claims among others.
“The current legislation does not allow for expropriation of land without compensation. When we do expropriate land, we do compensate,” Page said.
The concern comes after reports that the ANC had identified 139 farms to be expropriated without compensation in an attempt to test Section 25 of the Constitution. But the ANC has not confirmed whether such plans do exist while national executive committee (NEC) member Ronald Lamola, tasked with land expropriation, referred queries to the department.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe has not responded to calls and text messages.
Only two farms listed by AfriForum are in the Western Cape - one in Atlantis and one in the Boland.
Page said there were various prescribed steps that must be followed in expropriation that included a notice of intent to expropriate, valuation of the property and negotiations with the owner.
“In such cases, the property owner goes to court and from there we negotiate with the parties. But what is important is that when we do expropriate, we compensate.
“We don’t just take the land. This so-called list that was released by AfriForum seeks to create panic which is not there. There are processes still under way and we respect that. This has caused unnecessary drama and panic,” she said.
AgriSA president Dan Kriek has questioned the status and content of the leaked list of farms.
Kriek said cursory background research showed that the list contained several inaccuracies. “Upon investigation by Agri SA’s affiliates, it came to light that the list contained farms that are joint ventures that are co-owned by black people,” he said.
Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald called on the government to make the list public as soon as possible, so that the landowners who will be affected by the expropriation could get clarity.
“The list that was leaked and subsequently made public by AfriForum is causing the land owners whose names appear on the list great anxiety, confusion and alarm,” he said.@JasonFelix