Afrikaner interest group AfriForum’s publication of an alleged list of farms that it claims are being targeted for land expropriation without compensation has been met with condemnation by agricultural lobby group, AgriSA.
According to the AgriSA, AfriForum’s list contained several inaccuracies and incomplete information on title deed descriptions — and did not take note of farms that were joint ventures or were subdivisions of larger farms.
“AgriSA is in the process of establishing the legitimacy of the list of farms,” said Dan Kriek, president of AgriSA. “It is irresponsible of AfriForum to publish such unconfirmed information, knowing it to be inflammatory.”
According to AfriForum, the list is being circulated in the department of rural development and land reform. AfriForum’s deputy CEO Ernst Roets admitted the list may not be the final list of farms which would be expropriated but shared it anyway “to keep the public informed”.
“The bigger problem is that the department of land reform is engaging in secrecy,” Roets said.
The department of rural development and land reform has denied the veracity of the list, saying it does not know where AfriForum got the list: “There is no truth to this document,” department spokesperson Linda Page said.
AfriForum’s decision to release the list follows an announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa — in his capacity as ANC president — that the governing party would support an amendment to Section 25 of the Constitution.
The thinking behind the publication of the list is allegedly to push relevant farm owners into contacting AfriForum to prepare for a joint legal strategy. AgriSA in response, has asked farmers not to panic.
“Expropriation cannot happen overnight and can only take place for reasons specified in a law of general application,” said Annelize Crosby, Agri SA Head of the Centre of Excellence: Land.
“There are various prescribed steps that must be followed in expropriation. This includes a notice of intention to expropriate, valuation of the property and negotiations with the owners.”
AgriSA said that as the Constitution has not yet been changed, “The requirement for expropriation remains just and equitable compensation”.