The battle over the expropriation of land without compensation as a viable option to maximize the ownership of land, economic growth and agricultural production; is becoming one of the most contested policy issues among the three major political parties. The contestation was again triggered by EFF leader Julius Malema, who said if all land was government-owned, poverty in the country would be something of the past.
Other opposition parties remain steadfast in their opposition to expropriation without compensation. They’re even threatening court action if Section 25 is finally changed to enable expropriation without compensation. The DA, COPE, FF Plus, ACDP and others are still pushing back, arguing that this will result in a monumental economic disaster for the country.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane says that he does not understand why the land should be owned by the state and not South Africans.
“I battle to understand why there are some parties who are so committed to asking the state to own the land and not the people of the country…Just because I want more owners of land, not less.”
The EFF, UDM, NFP and others disagree. They say the failure of willing seller; willing buyer leaves the government with no other option, but to expropriate without compensation. On the other side, the ANC argues that the process of expropriation will not be done in a populist and reckless manner that will hurt the economy.
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry Senzeni Zokwana says that the department wants to sustain and retain food production.
“If the industry becomes more innovative, you will not be afraid of the issue of land reform because you will be participating in it. I don’t think government will come to your farm, we want to sustain and retain food production.”
While the back and forth discussions on this subject continue, analysts believe it is just the beginning. As the announcement of an election date is fast approaching, the issue will move to the top of all political party agendas.