The resolution passed by Parliament on Tuesday. to establish a committee to amend the Constitution to allow land expropriation without compensation has got white South Africans, farmers and business rattled. This is hardly surprising as security of ownership of property and assets is the cornerstone of a market economy. Should this right be compromised in any way, the very foundations of the economy — private ownership, investment and wealth accumulation — will be undermined and hollowed out. There would be particularly dire consequences for farming. Without security that assets will not be arbitrarily seized, no one will invest in food production, which is now highly capital intensive, with the value of equipment way outstripping the value of the land alone. As R60bn of agricultural land is effectively owned by the banks through loans to farmers, the threat of expropriation threatens financial stability too. So this is a dangerous debate and the sooner the governing ANC provides so...

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