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SA Canegrowers Congress debates land reform

SA Canegrowers Congress debates land reform

BY: Colleen Dardagan 12 Mar 2020 Filed in: Canegrowers News

While sugarcane farmers continue to grapple with the massive changes in their industry, the guest speaker at the first SA Canegrowers Congress meeting for the year held at KwaShukela outside Durban warned that land reform will remain an uncertainty for farmers and landowners well into the future.

"The debate will be with us for some time," she said.

On the matter of land expropriation without compensation and the government's drive to amend Section 25 of the Constitution, Crosby said AgriSA was of a firm view that the property clause in the Constitution was not an impediment to land reform and the real reasons for the slow pace of land transformation  related primarily to deficiences and inefficiencies in planning, execution and sustainable support, which she added, should be urgently addressed.

"These reasons do not justify an amendment to section 25 of the Consitution. And, the economic consequences of expropriation without compensation must be properly and fully considered. The principle of legality must be honoured and there must be a clear understanding of the circumstances under which the power to expropriate land without compensation may be exercised, by whom and in respect of which landowners," she said.

Current landowners, she added, should not be required to bear a disproportionate burden of the imperative for land reform in the public interest.

Way forward

Ordinary people and industry must be able to participate in the land debate in an informed manner,  the need for urban housing should be addressed as a priority and a development fund to finance new black farmers was a must, she said.

"AgriSA's land plan is set out in a holistic way together with a sustainable finance plan. These two plans are closely aligned to the land audit and related strategy," Crosby said.

The plan she said, contained the following:

-Sustainable restitution models

- Support for farmers in communal areas

- A social compact

- Promotion of a partnership approach between commercial farmers, farm workers, communities and emerging farmers.

- A public-private sector partnership for implementation

- Viable, affordable finance for new farmers and a 

- special purpose vehicle for implementation