Agribusiness welcomes ANC's failure to amend Constitution for land expropriation

The African National Congress (ANC) was dealt a heavy blow when most parties rejected the 18th Constitutional Amendment Bill, with the matter many now believe is water under the bridge.

FILE: A National Assembly hybrid plenary sitting in line with COVID-19 regulations on 27 August 2020. Picture: @ParliamentofRSA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - The failure to amend the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation has been welcomed by not just the opposition, but by agribusinesses across the country.

The African National Congress (ANC) was dealt a heavy blow when most parties rejected the 18th Constitutional Amendment Bill, with the matter many now believe is water under the bridge.

The bill had been on Parliament's agenda for more than three years, but ended in a damp squib earlier this month when it was rejected.

The proposed amendment by the ANC would have seen no compensation being offered for certain pieces of land.

Parties like the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Freedom Front Plus rejected this inclusion, with the EFF calling it ambiguous as opposed to no compensation.

But Agricultural Business Chamber CEO, Dr John Purchase, said that no compensation was already catered for in the separate Expropriation Bill currently before Parliament.

"If you look carefully at the Expropriation Bill that's before Parliament now it makes provision for expropriation with no compensation," Purchase said.

He said that his organisation welcomed the bill's rejection, saying that this had brought policy uncertainty and impacted investment.

"It certainly created policy uncertainty, it's certainly was not conducive to an enabling environment for investments and it detracted from economic growth."

It will now be up to the parties represented in Parliament to take the matter up again in a new bill, but analysts and agribusinesses doubt that any party would have the support to do so.