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Zille: New land reform proposal won’t work

Under the plan, commercial farmers will have to give workers a 50 percent stake in their farms.

FILE: Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Land reform policy proposals made by Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti won't work, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille said on Tuesday.

Under the plan, commercial farmers will have to give workers a 50 percent stake in their farms.

The DA leader questioned why the government had abandoned the National Development Plan (NDP)'s proposals for land reform.

She says the NDP's proposal goes further than farm equity share schemes in the Western Cape, which she says have been 80 percent successful.

Zille mentions that the Western Cape government is prepared to implement the NDP proposals as a pilot project.

"Before the national government abandons the NDP's proposal that it claims to support without even trying to make them work, we would like to offer to make them work."

The DA leader says Nkwinti's proposal is not the answer to the urgent need for land reform.

"They [the proposals] are based on forced expropriation, no compensation for the land and a range of other things that will undermine any capacity to develop land."

While Nkwinti has set a deadline of April 2015 for farmers, workers, unions and other players to respond to his proposal, his intentions to implement the plan irked many in the agriculture sector.

The Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies on Monday called on government and farmers to carefully interrogate the proposal.

AgriSA claimed the proposal was unconstitutional as farmers would not directly receive compensation for land handed over to workers.