The DA has slammed the ANC’s plan to allow for a ‘land tsar’ to have the final say on land expropriation without compensation, highlighting the potential damage it could cause the economy.
The ruling party has indicated that it does not support the idea of courts being the decision-maker on whether or not the state will pay for land it expropriates.
It instead plans to give this power to the minister of land reform who will be the sole arbiter on land expropriation cases in the country.
However, the DA has warned that this shake-up will come at the cost of increased fragility within the country’s economy.
“By trying to pursue a no compensation approach to land reform, the ANC is putting South Africa’s financial system at risk of total collapse,” it said.
“The Land and Agricultural Development Bank has warned expropriating farmland without compensation could cost the government R41 billion if it is forced to repay the state company’s debt immediately. In addition, farmers currently owe R190 billion in agricultural loans,” it said.
“The ANC would do well to reconsider accumulating an additional R230 billion in debt, due solely to their arrogance in facing the credit facts when it comes to land reform.”
The DA has also warned that there also major legal issues with the ANC’s planned changes.
“The ANC had originally supported this clause in committee and now, a week before public comments close, they are changing their minds.
“This, in essence, means that citizens are now commenting on a version of the bill that we know the ANC is not really supporting and that they will likely change. This is disingenuous and unfair – the ANC is once again trying to mislead South Africans,” it said.
It added that the ANC’s decision is unconstitutional, as it amounts to an interference in the independence of the Judiciary and the separation of powers between the Executive, Judiciary and the Legislature.
No talks with banks
Speaking to BusinessTech in January, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development said it has had no discussions with the country’s banks about being compensated for any loans against a property that is expropriated.
It also indicated that there have also been no other financial discussions with banks about how the land expropriation bill will impact loans and the wider economy
A spokesperson said that these discussions had not taken place as it was waiting for the bill to be finalised.
“The issue of home loans has not been discussed with the banks as the land expropriation bill is still an ongoing parliamentary process,” said Ngcobo.
“Currently the issue is out of her control and we will assess the situation once the bill has been finalised,” the spokesperson said.