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SA Canegrowers represented at land expropriation hearings

SA Canegrowers represented at land expropriation hearings

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

At the hearings, SA Canegrowers area manager for Pongola, Theuns Theunisses said  SA Canegrowers’ position on the proposed amendment of section 25 of the Constitution, was that the property clause did not pose an impediment to land reform and that no changes needed to be made to section 25 of the Constitution to achieve just and equitable land reform.

He said, an amendment to section 25 would not fix the systemic and rampant institutional incapacity.

  • "SA Canegrowers points out in its submission that an unnecessary amendment to the Constitution undermines the foundational values of the Constitution. An unnecessary amendment to the Constitution is also not rational and has the effect that the Constitution would be treated by the State as it would any other legislation. Given that the Constitutional court has recognised that the real problem with land reform is not with the courts or the laws of the country, an unnecessary amendment also undermines the rule of law, since it ignores the findings of that court," Theunissen said.

  • Further, Theunissed said, SA Canegrowers opposed the constitutional amendments to section 25 as a viable mechanism to speed up land reform.

  • " We agree that constructive and effective debate is crucial to address the ineffectiveness of the current land reform system, and we pledge our support for workable solutions within the existing constitutional framework," he said.

  • The requirement for just and equitable compensation is not the cause of the failure or slow pace of land reform he added, but rather corruption, ineptitude, an inadequate budget, lack of support, and lack of political were the real stumbling blocks,

  • He said what was needed was a grant component for a blended fund for land reform together with development partnerships with the private sector and timeous support for new farmers,

  • Also, real tenure security, preferably in the form of title deeds would lead to real broad-based economic empowerment and an increase in per capital income of citizens.

  • "The biggest need is for titled housing in towns and cities," Theunissen said.

  • In concluding his arguments, Theunissen said the  threat of proposed Expropriation without Compensation legislation had already led to reduced investment in agriculture and the financial institutions reassessed their lending risk to farmers.

  • "Recourse to the courts is non-negotiable and a basic element of the rule of law. We also  need a reliable, uncontested land audit as an accurate measure on land reform progress backed by existing best practice models to ensure food security and the sustainability of the agricultural sector in the country," he said.