AfriForum says they welcome the comments made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that plans to expropriate land without compensation would be a disaster for South Africa’s economy and the people.

Speaking in Addis Ababa, Pompeo said the policy proposal is an example of centralised planning that’s failed in other countries such as Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

Parliament’s land committee is holding public hearings for submissions on legislation that will amend Section 25 of the Constitution to include a clause to allow land expropriation without compensation.

Speaking on Morning Live, the Forum’s Campaign Officer Ernst Van Zyl says, “We want the world to be watching South Africa; that South African politicians know that if they were to violate anyone’s rights, even property right that the world will be taking notice. That it’s not just a cowboy open season in South Africa to be taking land or not to be responsible in terms of economic policies.”

Economic consultant, Dr Peter Karungu disagrees with AfriForum’s stance, saying it’s necessary for land reform policy to redress the dispossession that occurred during the Apartheid era.

Karungu says AfriForum should understand the dire economic situation South Africa is facing.

“I think I have tremendous respect for Afriforum in terms of intellectual but what they say and the hype they give cannot be supported by economic facts. You can talk about investors from anywhere but if you don’t understand the underlying problem we face based on the fact that you evicted people from the natural resources relocated them to squatter camps. I want Afriforum to start pragmatic thinking economic thinking that is long term not opportunistic not what somebody said. What somebody says has no relevance to South Africa be the country is facing a dire situation of high crime, uneducated people, unemployment and we need to address it.”

Click below to watch the interview with Peter Karungu and Ernst Van Zyl talking about Mike Pompeo’s comments:

SA-US relationship

Chief Operating Officer at the Centre for Risk Analysis David Ansara says the relationship between South Africa and the United States has come under strain in recent years because South Africa’s status as a developing nation has been questioned by the Trump administration.

Ansara says the US is concerned about their investments in the country. “I think you need to see Pompeo’s remarks in a broader trade and diplomatic relationship between the US and SA so the relationship is very important particularly for SA in terms of its trade relations. This relationship has come under strain in recent years if you consider trade disputes over chicken the US has placed SA under review in terms of general preferences and there are also some issues around intellectual property rights.”

SABC News correspondent Coletta Wanjohi reporting on Pompeo’s observation on SA’s land expropriation plan.