Letter: Expropriation bills add to farmers quitting - Businesslive

6 June 2022 - It’s pleasing to see Agri SA president Jaco Minnaar come out forthrightly about the damaging affect on the agricultural sector of policy and governance missteps. (“SA farmers quitting because of policy uncertainty, says Agri SA’s Jaco Minnaar”, June 5).

It’s pleasing to see Agri SA president Jaco Minnaar come out forthrightly about the damaging affect on the agricultural sector of policy and governance missteps. (“SA farmers quitting because of policy uncertainty, says Agri SA’s Jaco Minnaar”, June 5).

However, we would add that the issue is not only “policy uncertainty”, but the likelihood (and if some political rhetoric is to be believed, the certainty) of bad policy with scant regard for the consequences. It is astounding how much political capital the nominally “reformist” government of President Cyril Ramaphosa has sunk into pursuing the expropriation without compensation (EWC) agenda while SA’s socioeconomic malaise has deepened.

The defeat of the proposed constitutional amendment last year should not be taken as the end of the EWC matter. As important as that was, the constitutional amendment was only one part of the drive — and not necessarily the central one. The Expropriation Bill and Land Court Bill could do much to shift the ground against farmers and in favour of the state.

What is needed is a rethink on policy that displaces what the state terms transformation with one that encourages growth and development, leveraging existing capabilities and building new ones.

Key here is the security of property rights for all; indeed, the expansion of rights for new and aspirant farmers. (The ANC’s recent discussion document does nod to the importance of title deeds — it remains to be seen how significant this is.)

That the current conjunction of circumstances is causing some to exit the industry should be a wake-up call to the country as a whole.

Terence Corrigan
Institute of Race Relations

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/letters/2022-06-06-letter-expropriation-bills-add-to-farmers-quitting/

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