2 February 2018

South Africa: Expropriation Without Compensation - a Conference to Discuss the Wrong Issues

opinion

A conference on expropriation without compensation - which deputy minister of rural development and land reform Mcebisi Skwatsha says is to be convened by the ruling ANC - would serve merely to push South Africa down a fruitless blind alley while avoiding the key reasons why land reform has failed to live up to its expectations.

According to reports, conference on expropriation without compensation will seek to set out a framework for expropriation without compensation, after which all state bodies will begin to implement it.

Since there is no credible evidence that the constitutional requirement that the state pay for property it acquires has had any impact on the state of land reform, it's difficult to see how adopting "expropriation without compensation" will improve the success of South Africa's land reform initiatives.

Better explanations for the poor performance of land reform efforts include unsuitable land reform and farming models, a lack of support for emerging farmers, and weaknesses within South Africa's land reform bureaucracies (sometimes outright corruption). Government's own investigations concur with this. It is unclear if these will feature in the proposed conference.

A regime of expropriation without compensation would collapse the agricultural sector. At present,...

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