Farming proposal has groups concerned

According to the plan, 50 percent of all commercial farms should be ceded to workers.

FILE: The institute says government and farmers must revise the proposal that awards portions of land to labourers. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Government and farmers need to carefully interrogate a proposal which would allow the state to award portions of farms to labourers, the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies said on Monday.

It was reported on Sunday that Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti is officially proposing that workers take over half of the farms they work on and that government will pay for the land.

The government will then place the farmers' compensation money in a trust to help the workers.

The idea has irked some in the agriculture sector.

The institute's Ruth Hall says the legislation in its current form is ambiguous.

"Is it the land itself or is it the equity in the business? In some points in the documents, it suggests it is actually the land while in other points, the equity and the business."

AgriSA said the plan is unconstitutional.

The group's Annalise Crosby says, "If this is going to court, if the compensation that will be paid will not go directly to the farmers, it is actually a form of taking without compensation."

She says just the public announcement of these proposals is having an impact.

"The investors and the banks are very worried about these particular policies and they have to make certain decisions on account of it."