Ahead of the general election, Farmer’s Weekly compiled a quick guide to what political parties aim to achieve in terms of agricultural development and land reform according to their election manifestos.
A record number of 48 political parties will contest the 2019 election. If only politics worked more like a sweet shop, we could pick and choose the perfect national strategy for agriculture and land reform out of the different plans put forward by these political parties.
I would, for example, take the UDM’s plan to focus on infrastructure development in rural areas, combine it with ATM’s proposal to resuscitate agricultural colleges and reintroduce agriculture and entrepreneurship as subjects in basic education, throw in a handful each of the Freedom Front Plus’s (FF Plus) idea to implement interest-free, short-term loans in times of financial need as a result of disasters such as drought, and the NFP’s promise to see to it that the relevant government departments are led by people who are knowledgeable and passionate about agriculture, and finally, add a dash of the EFF’s fervent support for local procurement. And there we would have a plan that would really benefit all farmers.
As for land reform, your personal beliefs regarding property rights might just be what guides you to the party that will win your vote.
The main supporters of policy intervention, such as expropriation without compensation, are the ANC, EFF and ATM.
Both the EFF and ANC support the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for this to happen; however, they seem to differ in their opinion on private ownership.
The ANC’s manifesto contains reference to the “acceleration of title deed transfers”, while the EFF is quite clear that all land should be under the custodianship of the state.
ATM, on the other hand, believes that land belongs to the traditional leaders and must be handed back to them in a sustainable manner.
The proposed constitutional amendment is not supported by the DA, ZACP, FF Plus, GOOD, the IFP or the NFP.
The parties mostly agree that any expropriation that needs to happen is already catered for within the boundaries of the Constitution, and that any decision on the matter should be handled by the courts and not by politicians.
The FF Plus says land needed for reform purposes should be retrieved from failed land reform initiatives, and, along with GOOD and the IFP, they want land owned by the state to be redistributed immediately to accelerate land reform.
In order to achieve real and effective land reform, the DA would prioritise land reform in the National Budget and cut back on wasteful and corrupt spending.
Meanwhile, the UDM thinks that the land issue could only be definitively resolved at a CODESA-style economic indaba.