AgriSA shocked at new land law

AgriSA expressed shock yesterday at reported plans to step up land reform by giving the state first refusal on any land coming on to the market.

AgriSA expressed shock yesterday at reported plans to step up land reform by giving the state first refusal on any land coming on to the market.

The union's land reform spokesman, Annelize Crosby, said organised agriculture thought it would have been consulted in advance of such a proposal.

Beeld reported earlier in the day that the Land Affairs Department was planning to change legislation to give the state right of first refusal on land being sold.

This included all land in towns, cities and rural areas, the newspaper reported.

It said department head Glen Thomas had told parliament's portfolio committee on land affairs the state was losing out in obtaining land because it was not "proactive" in property acquisitions.

No indication was given on when the legislation would be changed.

Crosby said AgriSA did not see a need for this because the government's target of transferring ownership of 33percent of land could be reached with the existing arrangement.

"We do not think a drastic step like this is necessary."

Crosby said the state might also not be able to handle the planned changes in legislation.

"It could just freeze up the system if they want the right of first refusal on every property in the market," Crosby said.

The Freedom Front Plus said the reported plan would create "a second Zimbabwe" in South Africa.

Pieter Groenewald, FF+ spokesman on land affairs, said the new legislation would amount to nationalising all land.

"It is just a longer process of land reform than that applied in Zimbabwe," he said.

Groenewald said the state would "in a dictatorial manner" buy land at its own price.

He said ordinary land owners would not have the funds for the long, drawn-out court cases that might follow. - Sapa

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