AfriBusiness calls land expropriation decision ‘borderline insane’
A number of civil society organisations, including trade unions and foundations, agree that land reform needs to proceed, but say public protests will be launched
The motion passed in Parliament to weigh the possibility of the expropriation of land without compensation is "borderline insane", says AfriBusiness CEO Piet le Roux. "It will reverse all the restitution projects that have been implemented since 1994. This is a crisis. It is the most important political moment in SA’s history since 1994."
Le Roux spoke after a closed meeting held by civil society organisations under the auspices of AfriBusiness, the Solidarity trade union, and the FW de Klerk Foundation.
The meeting, which included the Free Market Foundation, the Helen Suzman Foundation, the South African Institute of Race Relations and farmers’ union TLU SA, accepted a resolution that all parties agreed land reform in SA had to proceed apace. A panel representing the delegates did say, however, that public protests would be launched.
The panel did not specify the nature of the protests saying it would be up to individual organisations.
Le Roux said that although the parliamentary motion on expropriation passed with a large majority, it is not clear that such a policy would be widely supported. "The expropriation of land without compensation is not about agriculture or poverty alleviation, it is about the nationalisation of property, and not just land."
He said if the policy was accepted, it would affect the property rights of all South Africans, black and white, but it would mostly affect black people. "It seems as though the ANC and the EFF truly believe in the motion. It reveals their ideological position."
Solidarity chairperson Flip Buys proposed a series of steps his organisation would pursue to resist the motion. These would include the promotion of an understanding of property rights and liaison with foreign investors. He said the threat to property rights vested in pension funds was especially concerning.
The FW de Klerk Foundation’s Dave Stewart said President Cyril Ramaphosa’s stance on the matter directly contradicted his statement at the recent Davos economic forum that SA was open for business, calling it, "A blow to the economy."