ANC commits to protect property rights in 'historic' meeting with AgriSA

The ANC has committed to defend property rights and is clearly concerned about the impact talk of expropriation without compensation is having on the economy and investor sentiment, says Omri van Zyl, CEO of AgriSA.

The governing party, led by Deputy President David Mabuza and Paul Mashatile, the ANC's treasurer, met a delegation from AgriSA and Agbiz, the agriculture value chain chamber Agbiz, on Tuesday. Van Zyl led the AgriSA team. The meeting was held at the request of the ANC.

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Van Zyl told News24 that the ANC had undertaken to defend property rights, but that the discussion did not directly address the issue of expropriation of property without compensation.

"It was a general discussion which has laid the foundation for the future. It is pretty clear the party is worried about the impact of the land debate on the private sector and investors."

According to AgriSA’s statement, the organisation is "encouraged" by a range of commitments undertaken by the ANC. Van Zyl called the meeting "historic". Everyone agreed that "factions" attempting to polarise society though statements about land reform "should be resisted".

Some of the undertakings by the ANC include:

  • No land grabs will be allowed;
  • The protection of productive agricultural land will remain a priority;
  • Optimising the use of fallow land in deep rural areas;
  • Property rights will remain a key priority in agrarian development;
  • Government is finalising an audit of state land for transfer to black farmers;
  • Initiating production on 4 000 farms currently in government possession to unlock commercial value and create farming opportunities. 

Van Zyl said the meeting laid the foundation for a lasting partnership "to sustainably transform and grow agriculture. However, our focus will remain on negotiating for tangible benefits for producers".

"The commitments from the ANC are important, but AgriSA (is) also committed to assist with the roll-out of a pragmatic plan to grow the sector and assist black farmers," said Christo van der Rheede, AgriSA deputy executive director.

AgriSA president Dan Kriek met President Cyril Ramaphosa in Cape Town on Tuesday. The outcome of that meeting is not yet clear.

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