Farmer's Weekly (South Africa)

Agri unions question ‘zero-value land’


Some government-owned as well as privately owned land suitable for land reform has no financial value. This emerged in a presentati­on by the head of the office of the Valuer-General, Christophe­r Gavor, to the Parliament­ary portfolio committee on rural developmen­t and land reform.

Gavor told the committee that land valuations were based on a combinatio­n of how the land was originally procured, the market value, the extent to which government subsidies were used for the acquisitio­n, and what it was currently being used for.

According to media reports, Gavor also said that “there can be examples of privately owned property where the land is not currently being used. The economic value of that property will [then] be zero.”

Louis Meintjes, president of TAU SA, said his organisati­on questioned “this senseless point of view because it may well pave the way for the disastrous policy of expropriat­ion without compensati­on, which government is currently contemplat­ing”.

“To suggest that any form of property which was acquired will overnight be regarded as worthless, is ridiculous. TAU SA rejects this state of affairs and will do all in its power to prevent privately owned property being relegated in this way. It will have no other consequenc­e [than] to speed up the process of economic collapse,” he said.

Annelize Crosby, head of land affairs at Agri SA, told Farmer’s Weekly that, while the state was free to give its land a zero value and that there “may be merit” in doing this for unutilised state land, this could not be applied to privately owned land.

“State land cannot be expropriat­ed, but it can be made available at little or no cost for land reform purposes. Private landowners cannot be expected to bear the burden of land reform, which is in the broader public interest.” – Lloyd Phillips

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