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Agri SA delivered its oral presentation this morning to the Constitutional Review Committee at Parliament. In no uncertain terms Agri SA is opposed to any amendment to Section 25 of the Constitution.
The following is a brief summary of the presentation:
• Changing Section 25 will not bring about the outcomes we all seek in terms of overcoming the legacies of the past. In fact, Section 25 as it currently stands do provide the state with the necessary legislative powers to ensure that land reform takes place in an orderly way and according to prescribed processes. No change is necessary.
• What needs to be changed is the entire bureaucratic system, the current land reform policies and programmes.
• Agri SA is appealing to government to have a look at the work done by commercial agriculture to empower new farmers all over the country.
• Key priorities are to expand ownership and security of tenure to all of our people. Ownership not only empowers people, it restores their dignity and it lays a solid foundation for wealth creation.
Agri SA acknowledges the indignity, humiliation, pain and economic suffering South African’s had to endure due to dispossession, forced removals and racial exclusion. Agri SA is committed to land reform and has been supportive of all the legislative programmes flowing from the current wording of Section 25, and has also participated actively in various processes aimed at land reform, farmer and agricultural development.
Government departments tasked with land reform, agricultural development and providing the necessary support systems are often in conflict with each other. There is little collaboration between provincial and national departments and state institutions such as the Land Bank, Dti and Agri-Colleges. This is a damning indictment on the part of government and politicians who’ve failed to ensure successful land reform by holding those responsible for land reform and related programmes accountable.
“It’s not the Constitution that is failing the people, it is a bureaucratic, inefficient, highly fragmented and unaccountable government system,” said Christo van der Rheede, Agri SA deputy executive director.
Agri SA remains firmly opposed to any amendment to Section 25 of the Constitution. On behalf of our members, we will fight any material amendment which undermines the protection of property rights and is out of step with international best practice in the highest courts.
Christo van der Rheede
Agri SA, Deputy Executive Director
C: 083 380 3492
Agri SA, Head of Centre of Excellence: Land
C: 082 388 0017