ANC top echelon makes iron-clad promises to nervous farmers – hope springs

CAPE TOWN — For those of us who cynically asked how on earth President Cyril Ramaphosa was going to honour his land expropriation without compensation caveat i.e; that it should not affect food security or harm the economy – this story provides much-needed comfort. His top lieutenants have just had an intense meeting with AgriSA and the Agricultural Business Chamber, the latter having jointly secured what is being touted as an iron-clad government commitment to protect productive agricultural land. More than that; they’ve been given a heads-up on the ruling party’s strategy which first involves production kick-off on 4,000 government-owned farms. There will be no land grabs, the officials promised. AgriSA’s response displays a growing diplomacy and pragmatism – but far more than that; growing hope that we’re going to address this inequitable legacy with sound reasoning and solid partnership. So far, so good. It all depends on Cyril holding onto and consolidating power in the coming two years. In fact, some have even said he’ll have to match Zuma in the speed with which he antithetically spreads clean and more effective governance. No easy task, given his existing cabinet and widespread adverse Zuptoid deployment. – Chris Bateman

By Rene Vollgraaff

(Bloomberg) – South African ruling party officials committed to protect productive agricultural land and property rights in a meeting with a commercial farmers’ lobby group about the government’s plan to allow expropriation without compensation.

AgriSA and the Agricultural Business Chamber met with Deputy President David Mabuza and African National Congress Treasurer-General Paul Mashatile in Johannesburg Tuesday about agrarian reform and farm property. The ANC officials pledged that no land grabs will be allowed and that production will be started on 4,000 farms currently in government possession to unlock their commercial value, Agri SA said in an emailed statement.

The ANC’s New Top Six celebrate on stage during the party’s 54th national conference in Johannesburg on December 18, 2017. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

The meeting “sets a foundation for a lasting partnership with the aim to sustainably transform and grow agriculture,” said Omri van Zyl, AgriSA executive director. “Our focus will remain on negotiating for tangible benefits for producers.”

The ANC decided in December to change the constitution to allow seizure without payment to speed up giving black people more land. Access to land is one of the symbols of inequality in the nation of about 56 million where wealth and poverty are largely divided along racial lines.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and AgriSA President Dan Kriek will meet in Cape Town later on Tuesday, the farming group said.

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