Land reform proposal not ANC brainchild – report

The ANC did not mandate Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti to push the controversial new land reform proposals, City Press reported on Sunday.

Government’s recently released policy paper on land reform and restitution – titled “Strengthening the Relative Rights of People Working the Land” – has sparked alarm and uncertainty among farmers across the country. An unnamed ANC national executive committee member, quoted by City Press, reported that the policy proposals did not emanate from the party’s 2012 Mangaung conference resolutions. 

Another ANC insider reportedly told the publication that the proposals were unlikely to “pass constitutional muster if challenged as they amount to expropriation without compensation”. 

The policy proposal, which involves giving 50% of land to farmworkers, was lambasted as ill-considered and unacceptable by farmer representative bodies. Zizi Kodwa, ANC national spokesperson, told City Press that the party did not have a policy position on the mooted 50% share equity scheme for farm dwellers. 

The policy document proposes that farm labourers assume ownership of half the land on which they are employed. This would be “proportional to their contribution to the development of the land, based on the number of years they had worked on the land”. The “historical owner” of the farm “automatically retains” the other half. 

According to the policy proposals, tabled by Nkwinti, with a deadline for feedback of April next year, government would pay for the 50% to be shared by the labourers. This money would not be paid to the farm owner, however, but go into an investment and development fund, to be jointly owned by the parties constituting the new ownership regime, the newspaper reported. – Sapa

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