/ 6 April 2014

New farm expropriation proposal could ‘threaten food security’

A gate to Vrede
A gate to Vrede

According to a new proposal being considered by government, farm workers on commercial farms could own half of South Africa's farms, Rapport reported on Sunday.

The proposal meant expropriating half of every commercial farm in South Africa and handing it over to farm workers, according to the report.

The newspaper was in possession of a document named "Final Policy Proposals for Strengthening the Relative Rights of People Working the Land", which was discussed with agricultural organisations on Monday.

The historic owners would retain half of their farms and the state would pay for the 50% taken for the workers, Rapport said.

The money would not be paid to the farm owners but into a trust aimed at investing and developing the farm for all shareholders of the farm.

Farm workers shares
Farm workers get shares in the farm based on the number of years of service and the basis of their contribution in the development of the farm, according to the report.

The document was met with mixed reactions with the Congress of South African Trade Union welcoming it while AgriSA said drafts of the policy's proposals had already been opposed by them and other organisations in the sector.

AgriSA deputy president Theo de Jager said it was unworkable and probably unconstitutional.

"They could possibly lead to disinvestment in the sector and also threaten food security," he was quoted as saying. – Sapa