'ANC's decision on land expropriation without compensation a radical move'

The issue of land is one of the biggest talking points to come out of the conference in Nasrec this week.

FILE: Enoch Godongwana gives a press conference on the outcomes of the economic transformation commission at the ANC's elective conference on 20 December 2017. He delivered the party's stance on land expropriation. Picture: Ihsaan Haffejee/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - AgriSA says the African National Congress's (ANC) decision to amend the Constitution to allow for land to be expropriated without compensation is a radical move.

The issue of land is one of the biggest talking points to come out of the conference in Nasrec this week.

The party says expropriation must first pass a sustainability test so as not to threaten food security or undermine the economy.

AgriSA's Dan Kriek says he does not understand how this decision helps economic growth.

“We’re extremely worried about that. If we were to go that route, the markets would act decisively and swiftly against us. This will threaten economic growth, investor confidence, it will heighten the levels of uncertainty because this is not a good decision for the country.”

At the same time, Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) says the ANC's resolution to expropriate land without compensation sends a wrong message to investors and rating agencies.

Busa's Cas Coovadia says this resolution will have a knock-on effect on the country's investment prospects.

“I can’t understand how you’re going to expropriate land without compensation and still get investors in with confidence and get rating agencies to hold off on further downgrades.”

Coovadia says this will become an enormous challenge for the ruling party.

“For me, this is a challenge for the ANC leadership that we need to look at transformation issues and if we don’t deal with the land issue and we don’t involve different sectors of our communities into a partnership to deal with this, then in 20 years’ time this country will be burning.”

LISTEN: ANC resolves to expropriate land without compensation


Political parties have also weighed in, with Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane saying it's "not economically viable” and does not expand the wealth to poor South Africans.

United Democratic Movement president Bantu Holomisa believes that the only reason the ANC took the decision to expropriate land without compensation is to win over Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) voters.

“I don’t think the ANC will implement that. It’s intended to disrupt the EFF on the issue of land.”

Maimane agrees with Holomisa and says it will never work.

In order to change the Constitution, the ANC needs a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly. On this, it can rely on the EFF’s vote.

Meanwhile, Congress of the People president Mosiuoa Lekota says it’s blatant populism on behalf of the ANC.

“Because if you are going to take land and give it to people who don’t farm, they’ll walk away from it.”

The EFF says it will only respond next year.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)