Land ex­pro­pri­a­ti­on in spot­lig­ht in Ge­or­ge

George Herald - - News -

A­li­da de Beer

A­di­a­lo­gue on land re­form and ex­pro­pri­a­ti­on wit­hout com­pen­sa­ti­on was hos­ted by the Ge­or­ge Bu­si­ness Cham­ber on Tu­es­day 3 Ju­ly, with a view to gi­ve bu­si­ness le­a­ders and ot­her sta­ke­hol­ders in Ge­or­ge an op­por­tu­ni­ty to air their views and pos­si­ble so­lu­ti­ons to the land que­s­ti­on.

It was held at the Ge­or­ge Ci­vic Cen­t­re.

Prof Quin­ton John­son, chair­man of the South A­fri­can Na­ti­o­nal In­s­ti­tu­te (Sa­ni) for Land, He­ri­ta­ge and Hu­man Rig­hts, was the key­no­te spea­ker and fa­ci­li­ta­ted the dis­cus­si­on.

The i­dea be­hind the e­vent was to start with a pro­cess of de­ter­mi­ning how bet­ter food se­cu­ri­ty, a­gri­cul­tu­ral pro­ducti­vi­ty, and in­cre­a­sed in­ves­t­ment in the e­co­nomy can be en­su­red in the con­text of land ex­pro­pri­a­ti­on wit­hout com­pen­sa­ti­on, as voi­ced by Pre­si­dent Cy­ril Ra­map­ho­sa.

John­son stres­sed that de­li­be­ra­ti­ons a­round land re­form are ur­gent if we want to en­s­u­re har­mo­ny and e­co­no­mic pro­gress for all. It will ta­ke "all of us" to re­sol­ve the land is­sue and so pre­vent in­cre­a­sing vi­o­lent pro­tes­ts o­ver ser­vi­ces from es­ca­la­ting in­to a na­ti­o­nal di­sas­ter. He said t­he­se pro­tes­ts all re­la­te to land and it is cos­ting the coun­try bil­li­ons.

John­son high­lig­h­ted the pro­vi­si­ons of Secti­on 25 of the Con­si­tu­ti­on, il­lus­tra­ting that it does not need to be a­men­ded to e­na­ble the acce­le­ra­ti­on and success­ful im­ple­men­ta­ti­on of land re­form.

"Our in­sti­tu­ti­on (Sa­ni) and its part­ners be­lie­ve the Con­sti­tu­ti­on should sim­ply be im­ple­men­ted. Go­vern­ment has fai­led its pe­op­le through a lack of im­ple­men­ta­ti­on. The­re is on­ly one jud­ge in the Land Claims Court that must de­al with t­his com­plex­i­ty. Furt­her­mo­re, the e­nor­mous cor­rup­ti­on has har­med the pro­cess of land re­form, and the­re are li­mi­ted ex­pert skills, ex­a­cer­ba­ted by ca­d­re de­ploy­ment. The­re has to be skills and ca­pa­ci­ty."

C­re­di­ble land re­gis­ter

Sa­ni pro­po­ses the for­ma­ti­on of a su­per­mi­ni­stry in the pre­si­den­cy for land and a­gri­cul­tu­ral re­form, ap­poin­ting a land rig­hts pro­tec­tor, and cre­a­ting a c­re­di­ble land re­gi­stry for ru­ral and ur­ban land re­form. The pos­si­ble re­pe­a­ling of so­me out­da­ted le­gis­la­ti­on must be con­si­de­red and a bill on access to land for spi­ri­tu­al and cul­tu­ral pur­po­ses must al­so be draf­ted, a­mong ot­her t­hings.

"It is thoug­ht that an ex­pro­pri­a­ti­on act is going to be ne­ces­sa­ry, but we should in­clu­de a li­mi­ta­ti­on clau­se in­to such a bill," said John­son.

Li­mi­ta­ti­ons on pro­per­ty con­si­de­red for ex­pro­pri­a­ti­on could in­clu­de pro­per­ty held un­pro­ducti­ve­ly and for pu­re spe­cu­la­ti­ve pur­po­ses, and w­he­re the pro­per­ty is an a­bando­ned buil­ding or u­nu­ti­li­sed land, un­de­ru­ti­li­sed pro­per­ty o­w­ned by pu­blic en­ti­ties, or land that is acti­ve­ly far­med by la­bour te­nants. He said go­vern­ment o­wns 5 000 farms and vast tracts of pro­per­ties w­he­re dis­tri­bu­ti­on can be star­ted "in a ra­ti­o­nal way".

So­me of the is­su­es that the au­dien­ce tou­ched on in­clu­ded the thre­at that ex­pro­pri­a­ti­on wit­hout com­pen­sa­ti­on can po­se to food se­cu­ri­ty and the e­co­nomy; go­vern­ment's in­a­bi­li­ty to dri­ve trans­for­ma­ti­on; the need for sup­por­ting e­mer­ging far­mers by way of skills de­ve­lop­ment, fun­ding and access to mar­kets; the need for kno­w­led­ge sharing by com­mer­ci­al far­mers; guar­ding a­gri­cul­tu­ral land a­gainst ur­ban de­ve­lop­ment; and keeping up with the Fourth In­dus­tri­al Re­vo­lu­ti­on in a­gri­cul­tu­re.

The e­vent, i­ni­ti­a­ted by Ge­or­ge Cham­ber chair­man Dr Den­nis Far­rell and Prof John­son, was at­ten­ded by bu­si­ness pe­op­le and re­pre­sen­ta­ti­ves of the Ge­or­ge Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty.

Furt­her meet­ings with va­ri­ous bu­si­ness cham­bers and mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties are plan­ned a­cross the Gar­den Rou­te Dis­trict with the aim to de­ve­lop a con­cep­tu­al fra­me­work so that the re­gi­on's com­mu­ni­ties can enga­ge me­a­ning­ful­ly with the Par­li­a­men­ta­ry Con­sti­tu­ti­o­nal Re­view Com­mit­tee, w­hen t­hey vi­sit the re­gi­on on 1 Au­gust.

P­ho­to: Ing­rid Die­sel

All the pe­op­le who at­ten­ded the land di­a­lo­gue on Mon­day. The fa­ci­li­ta­tor and key­no­te spea­ker, Prof Quin­ton John­son (black co­at), is stan­ding in the se­cond row from the front on the left. In the front from left are Ge­or­ge Bu­si­ness Cham­ber chair­man Dr Den­nis Far­rell, Ge­or­ge Ma­yor Mel­vin Naik, Pa­calts­dorp Cham­ber chair­man Ju­li­an Klas­sen, T­hem­ba­let­hu Cham­ber chair­man Ri­chard S­hu­mi, and AHi We­stern Ca­pe chair­man Dr Wil­lie Cil­liers. INSET: Frank­lin Sonn said trans­for­ma­ti­on did not ta­ke pla­ce on­ly be­cau­se of un­brid­led cor­rup­ti­on in go­vern­ment. Far­mers are al­so un­wil­ling or slow to trans­form their farms to ad­dress the is­sue of land.

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