Farmers panic after AfriForum publishes list of apparent expropriation targets
Farm owners are concerned that they could become the next land invasion victims after the names of their farms were included on a list of possible land expropriation targets.
Lobby group AfriForum published the list on its website.
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform denied the veracity of the list, which was ostensibly circulated within the department.
But AfriForum Deputy CEO Ernst Roets told News24 that the document was "definitely being circulated", although he would not provide further details on how it had reached them. He would only say it had emanated from a "confidential source".
Now some farmers are worried about the publication of the list.
Agri SA president Dan Kriek told reporters at their head office in Centurion that two farmers on the list had contacted him.
"By the way, some of those farmers were extremely agitated that they have now been exposed," Kriek explained.
"They are extremely worried with the name of their farm on a list that they might be exposed towards…well anything…land invasion, squatting, whatever."
Kriek also said the farmers had no pending land claims, nor any dealings with the government over the sale of their farms.
They also asked Kriek for advice about what they should do about the list.
"My answer was just to remain calm and that we will inform them as we verify the validity of this list and by tonight, I will phone them back and say that the list is false."
Kriek said it was irresponsible of AfriForum to publish a list that created further unease, discomfort and panic in the agricultural sector.
He added that there was uncertainty about the issue of land expropriation without compensation and that people were becoming increasingly nervous because their livelihoods depended on the production of farms.
This list added to that panic, he explained.
In a statement, Agri SA said the list contained several inaccuracies which could easily have been verified before it was released.
"Upon investigation by Agri SA's affiliates, it came to light that the list contained farms that are joint ventures that are co-owned by black people," Annelize Crosby, Agri SA's Head of the Centre of Excellence: Land, said.
"The list also contained incomplete information on title deed descriptions and with farm names [which appeared] without [details of] the subdivisions of those farms."
Earlier this month, City Press reported that the ANC had identified 139 farms which were expected to be expropriated without compensation in the coming weeks to test Section 25 of the Constitution.
The list which AfriForum shared contained the names of 195 farms.