Representatives of the civil rights organisation AfriForum attended the public hearing on the expropriation bill in Nelspruit on 16 April. Hennie Bekker, AfriForum’s district coordinator for the Lowveld, spoke at the hearing. AfriForum emphasised that the ANC’s pursuit of expropriation without compensation is nothing but a political game.

Numerous examples were cited of corruption that hamper land reform efforts, especially the fact that only 6,3% of land bought by the state have since been transferred to private ownership. Moreover, more than 90% of people who submitted land claims indicated that they were not interested in owing agricultural land and would rather receive money as compensation. Government also admitted itself that more than 90% of farms which were awarded to black South Africans have failed and quickly turned into subsistence farming or squatters’ settlements.

AfriForum is of the opinion that the “hunger for land” is mostly a myth, especially regarding the demand for rural land to become farmers, because around 82% of land claims are for suburban rather than rural land.

The Bill was published in October 2020 and brought before Parliament and relevant committees to discuss its constitutionality and mandates. The Bill was open for comments from the public until 28 February 2021. AfriForum also submitted commentary. AfriForum also plans on attending other public hearings that will be held until the end of June.

“Government’s power games regarding land cannot be accepted without further ado, as it is to the detriment of everyone on the country. Property rights are instrumental in creating a prosperous society and AfriForum will therefore continue fighting this destructive policy,” Bekker concludes.

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