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Agbiz and Agri SA reacts strongly against amendment of the Constitution

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Agbiz

“Agbiz has noted with disappointment and concern the recommendation by the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) to amend the Constitution to explicitly make provision for land expropriation without compensation. Agbiz has consistently maintained that it is not necessary to amend the Constitution to effect land reform in South Africa, and this proposed amendment to the Constitution will impact negatively on much-needed investment and harm the economy,” said Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz in a media statement.

“The in-principle recommendation was however not surprising, given the sentiments expressed during the provincial public hearings and the announcement of the president of the ANC on 31 July 2018. It would however have been a positive and constructive step if the conditions under which land expropriation without compensation could take place had accompanied the CRC’s recommendations.

“Of critical importance now is the Constitution Amendment Bill or parliamentary motion that will need to be drafted and the detail that it contains on the conditions under which land expropriation without compensation will be given effect. Agbiz will engage on this Bill, as well as make oral submissions to Parliament,” Dr Purchase assured.

Dr Purchase added that the question of policy uncertainty still fully remains and will continue to impact negatively on the broader agriculture and agribusiness sectors, and also play on sentiment in the economy as a whole. Clarity on the exact wording and any accompanying legal amendments remains essential to turn the economy around and stimulate growth and job creation. Constructive engagement with government and Parliament remains the only plausible way to resolve the land question in South Africa.

Agri SA

Agri SA will roll out the next phase of its tactical plan against expropriation without compensation (EWC), Dan Kriek, president of Agri SA, said in a media statement.

“The recommendation of the Constitutional Review Committee on the amendment of section 25 is diametrically opposed to the crucial goals of protection of property, economic stability, job creation, investor confidence and sustainable agrarian reform.

“The committee indicated today that they would recommend an amendment to the property clause in the Constitution. Agri SA sees this as an unacceptable outcome of an extended consultation process wherein Agri SA took a firm stance against EWC. Agri SA clearly articulated on several occasions the serious consequences of such a step.

“We have made extensive preparations in order to act effectively and will cast additional resources to this fight. Agri SA believes in constructive dialogue with all stakeholders, but now is the time to draw a line,” Kriek said.

Agri SA will in the coming days:

  • Roll out its legal strategy and consult with its legal team on possible litigation;
  • Intensify dialogue with local and international role-players including American and European trade partners;
  • Review the procedural and administrative law compliance of the Constitutional Review Committee’s consultation process;
  • Strengthen and mobilise strategic partnerships with various organisations.

The proposed amendment is politically motivated and will cause large scale damage to the South African economy. The priority for millions of South Africans is job creation, housing, crime prevention and quality education. This should be the focus of government, rather than reckless and populist constitutional amendments.

“Agri SA continuously consults with lawyers and we are considering litigation,” said Annelize Crosby, Agri SA Policy Head: Land. “The recommendation is only the first step in a long and arduous process to amend the Constitution and related legislation. Agri SA will be continue to stand its ground throughout the process.

 “Agri SA will continue to fight tooth and nail to ensure a sustainable future for all involved in agriculture as well as all South Africans,” Crosby said.

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