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South African government reassures farmers of careful process in land reform

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Staff Writer | August 15, 2018
The South African government tried to alleviate fears among farmers for the ongoing process to amend the Constitution for land expropriation without compensation.
South African farm
Africa   The proposed land expropriation is without compensation
"We reassure that government will undertake a careful process mindful of all the factors," said Senzeni Zokwana, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The proposed land expropriation without compensation "will not undermine food security and agricultural sector as a critical economic contributor to our country," the minister said.

He was speaking after AfriForum, an association of South African farmers, last Friday published the names of 195 farms to be expropriated by the government.

AfriForum encouraged farmers to check if their farms were on the list and to contact the organization so that they could "prepare for a joint legal strategy."

AfriForum has launched an international campaign to get the South African government to stop its move to expropriate land without compensation.

Zokwana lambasted AfriForum for being so intent on stigmatizing the current parliamentary process around land reform.

"This latest confusion by Afriforum following their overseas drive to mobilize negative sentiments against South Africa is an act of sabotage," the minister said.

"It is an act against the national interest of the country," he added.

Zokwana also disputed the so-called list of farms to be expropriated by the government.

Zokwana praised AgriSA, a lobby group committed to the development of agriculture in South Africa, for publicly condemning AfriForum for publishing the list of farms to be targeted by the government.

AgriSA said on Monday that AfriForum's list contains several inaccuracies and incomplete information on title deed descriptions and does not take note of farms that are joint ventures or are subdivisions of larger farms.

"It is irresponsible of AfriForum to publish such unconfirmed information, knowing it to be inflammatory," AgriSA President Dan Kriek said.

South Africa's Parliament has begun the process to review Section 25 of the Constitution and other clauses where necessary to sufficiently cater for the principle of land expropriation without compensation.

The Constitutional Review Committee of Parliament has been directed to prioritize this issue and report back to Parliament by August 30 this year.

Opponents argue that land expropriation without compensation will drive away white farmers, kill jobs and threaten food security.

But the government has repeatedly said the land reform it is pursuing will be done without destabilizing the agricultural sector, endangering food security, or undermining economic growth and job creation.