The heated debate over land reform in the past few months has not discouraged banks from lending to the agriculture sector. The Banking Association of SA’s (Basa’s) unaudited figures of the big four banks show that loans to commercial farmers have increased 11.2% to R148bn at the end of June, from R133bn in December 2017. Banks have about R1.6-trillion in property loans. Basa said this was “hard evidence” that banks are committed to sustainable land reform and are confident that SA can find practical solutions to the challenges of restitution, redistribution and security of tenure. Basa MD Cas Coovadia said that while it was essential for SA to deal with land reform, a critical issue was attracting investment and stimulating growth to tackle the issues of poverty as well as unemployment. It had to be determined whether a change in the constitution would promote growth and investment or inhibit it, Coovadia said. “The last thing we need … is rhetoric or legislation that gets investor...

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