Extension of comments on land expropriation welcomed

Major organised agricultural bodies in South Africa have welcomed recent news that the window period for written submissions on the National Assembly’s proposal to amend Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation has been extended.

Major organised agricultural bodies in South Africa have welcomed recent news that the window period for written submissions on the National Assembly’s proposal to amend Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation has been extended.

The 24-member Joint Committee on Constitutional Review, which was tasked by President Cyril Ramaphosa with assessing both the legality of and public opinion towards the controversial proposed change to the Constitution, announced that the deadline for written submissions had been extended to 15 June 2018.

Due to the widespread and intense public interest in the proposed change, the committee had also decided to hold its public hearings on the subject across all South African provinces over the period 26 June to 6 August 2018.

The committee has reportedly already received over 100 000 written submissions regarding the proposed amendment, and it anticipates many more to continue to flow in ahead of the new deadline.

Annelize Crosby, head of Land Affairs with agricultural association, Agri SA, welcomed the deadline extension “as many of our affiliates will also be submitting comments”.

“Agri SA will be ready to submit its very substantial submission by the end of May,” she said.

Chris van Zyl, assistant general manager of farmers’ union, TAU SA, also welcomed the deadline extension. He said that TAU SA had encouraged its members both individually and collectively to oppose the proposed legislation. The deadline extension for written submissions would allow them more time to do this.

“In essence, expropriation without compensation is just a legalised form of theft. This forms the brunt of our approach,” Van Zyl said.

He added that TAU SA was also interested to know why government had not given title deeds to beneficiaries of previous land transfers.

Farmer’s Weekly approached the Youth section of the African Farmers’ Association of SA for comment on the deadline extension, but no response had been received at the time of going to print.