The governing party made their commitment during their bilateral meeting with AgriSA in Pretoria yesterday following growing fears that a large section of white farmers, especially those who work in food production, would suffer great harm when the ANC executes its land expropriation plans.
But the ANC’s delegation, led by its head of elections Fikile Mbalula, moved swiftly to quell the fears. In his address to the farmers, Mbalula gave an impression that his party’s expropriation plan was still in its infancy stages and that it would welcome any proposed changes from “aggrieved” AgriSA. “We have been sent by President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa to meet with AgriSA and listen to them about our position on the expropriation of land without compensation. The president wants us to find each other as citizens of this country,” Mbalula said.
He said their meeting was aimed at allaying farmers' fears, especially their concerns that their proposed move might lead to “economic mayhem” in South Africa.
According to Mbalula, their plan was aimed at including every citizen in the economic activity of the country, saying one of their primary goals was to secure land for human settlement.
“We want human settlements near economic zones,” Mbalula said.
Ronald Lamola - fellow ANC member - also gave the same guarantees to AgriSA members saying even “communist” China “was gradually guaranteeing the protection of property rights”.
“Countries like China are doing so, because they raise their capital from foreign investors,” Lamola said.
In what appeared to be a direct attack on the EFF, Lamola told the farmers that the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank and other banking institutions was not on their agenda.
“We are not going to wipe out our banking property,” he said.
Lamola said his party would table the Expropriation Bill and the Redistribution Bill in Parliament before any expropriation of land can take place.
“We are not advocating to take all the land that belongs to the farmers. We want everyone to participate in the mainstream of the economy,” he said.
After the closed session, both parties collectively agreed to work together.
In their joint statement, the parties said they had a productive and fruitful discussion on various issues pertaining to the agricultural sector.
AgriSA president Dan Kriek said: “This engagement with the ANC is of immeasurable value. We are optimistic about the future of a sustainable agricultural sector in South Africa."
Kriek said he felt that the ANC had heard their concerns.
“AgriSA remains against any amendment to Section 25 of the Constitution.
"AgriSA believes Section 25 as it currently stands provides the State with the necessary legislative powers to ensure land reform takes place in an orderly way and according to a prescribed process,” Kriek added.