Parties oppose land plans

TWO political parties and a cultural organisation vowed yesterday to oppose attempts by the government to change the country's land ownership system.

TWO political parties and a cultural organisation vowed yesterday to oppose attempts by the government to change the country's land ownership system.

"The Democratic Alliance will vehemently oppose any attempt by the ANC government to amend Section 25 of the Constitution, the provision that protects private property against expropriation," the DA said in a statement.

It was reacting to a report in Rapport that the government was considering declaring agricultural land a "national asset" and instituting a quit-rent land tenure system, in a Green Paper to be published shortly. In such a system the farmer pays rent to the state, which owns the land.

Rural Development and Land Reform Department director-general Thozi Gwanya was quoted as saying problems with land reform showed the system of land ownership had to change.

The Freedom Front Plus said doing this would be nationalising land. Party leader Pieter Mulder said such a move would be unconstitutional, scare away investors and destroy food security.

The DA's deputy shadow rural development minister Annette Steyn said declaring all agricultural land a national asset effectively meant nationalising it.

Gwanya denied that declaring land a national asset was the same as nationalisation.

The Afrikanerbond said it would consider reactivating the ad hoc group for the protection of property rights to oppose the department's proposals. When the Expropriation Bill was published in 2008, 17 organisations from civil society and political parties formed the group. - Sapa

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