Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) welcomes the final report of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture as tabled on Sunday. The importance of land reform cannot be over-emphasised in the context of where the country finds itself now.
BLSA believes that the report works in favour of policy certainty which the country desperately needs both for investor confidence and stability. Land reform cannot be left unattended if South Africa is to truly transform and create an inclusive economy.
The panel recommends that the largest chunk of the available budget for land reform be focused on two categories – farm dwellers, labour tenants and subsistence farmers, and smallholder farmers producing for local markets.
The remainder can be directed to medium- and large-scale commercial farmers, who are better situated to contribute their own capital and leverage finance from the Land Bank, commercial banks and other financing institutions. The panel is also adamant that women must benefit from land reform.
BLSA strongly believes expropriation without compensation should be confined to land reform and the categories targeted should be land and buildings that have been abandoned by the owner, land held purely for speculative purposes and land occupied and farmed by a labour tenant.
Says BLSA CEO Busi Mavuso: “The Constitution already, at least in theory, permits expropriation without compensation in appropriate cases, regardless of the nature of the property concerned. A convincing argument can be made that what is now required is a provision dealing specifically with land, because of its significance and importance.”
BLSA strongly holds the view that we need to retain the present system wherein the courts make the ultimate determination of the amount of compensation (and whether no compensation at all should be paid). “No other body other than a court should determine compensation in the case of dispute,” says Mavuso, who added that “business and indeed the country thrives where there is policy certainty.”
Issued by BLSA