Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Vocal forces behind the expropriation of land without compensation are fuelling the rise of right-wing groups, but analysts warn that redress and the economy will suffer if no compromise is reached between landowners and the landless.

The deadline for submissions last Friday saw just more than 600 000 comments on the controversial legislation received after a proposal to amend the constitution to allow the expropriation of land without compensation was approved in February.

However it brought about campaigns against expropriation without compensation by right-wing groups that attracted thousands of comments and submissions which were also handed to Parliament.

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Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said the land issue had not only sparked heated conversations but also deepened historic divisions.

“If you apply force on something it creates an energy elsewhere. We have seen the forces who simply want to take the land without compensation and without any consideration and now we are seeing right-wing groups, many who own the land, rising up and fighting back. We need to somehow find a compromise, because if we continue on the current trajectory we are in for trouble. We can’t just take land and expect a growing economy, on the other hand redress will stagnate if we continue like this. We need to come together and talk, before just acting,” he said.

The FF Plus received 101 060 submissions opposing the proposal to amend the constitution to allow the expropriation of land without compensation.

Its submissions along with a formal presentation was handed to the Constitutional Review Committee, tasked to look into amending Section 25 of the constitution, to allow expropriation of land without compensation. FF+ leader Pieter Groenewald said the land reform process was hindered by corruption and administrative incompetence,“not by the principle of 'willing buyer willing seller'", he said.

Ernst Roets, deputy executive head of Afriforum, has already handed a petition to Parliament with 250 000 signatures against the expropriation of land.

“Expropriation without compensation is unethical, because a deceitful land audit will be used. It is also destructive, because ownership is a cornerstone of economic growth,” he said.

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Mike Schussler, economist at Economists.co.za, said the expropriation of land without compensation was fuelling the uncertainty.

“We have to find some sort of compromise because none of the methods raised will work. We have groups calling for the land to be taken away just like that without any compensation and others who are protecting their land. The first option will negatively affect the economy, while the latter will negatively affect redress,” he said.

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) also launched a campaign against the expropriation of land without compensation.

The ANC and EFF have encouraged South Africans to express their views at public hearings.

The first public hearing in the Western Cape will be held in Oudtshoorn on August 1.

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Cape Argus