Agri SA on Tuesday appeared to be preparing a legal challenge to the “introduction of land ceilings” provided for in the Regulation of Land Holdings Bill.
Its president‚ Johannes Moller‚ said the federation of agricultural organisations “is waiting for the publication of the bill and will immediately have it scrutinised by senior counsel”.
Minister of Rural Developemnt and Land Reform Gugile Nkwinti last month said it would tabled in Parliament in June.
Moller noted that Nkwinti‚ in his recent budget vote‚ “proposed that the size of land that any individual or entity may own should be limited”.
The Agri SA leader said Nkwinti expanded on this at the weekend‚ saying “during a land handover ceremony in the Kruger National Park that a limit of between 1 000 and 12 000 hectares would be applicable and that government would purchase any land in excess of the set ceiling for redistribution”.
“There has been talk of so-called land ceilings since the release of the Green Paper on Land Reform in 2011‚” said Moller.
“Agri SA had from the outset firmly opposed such land ceilings and has repeatedly tabled well-motivated‚ economic‚ food security and constitutional arguments against the proposed legislation.
“A working group was established by the minister in which Agri SA also participated‚ with independent experts being tasked to advise the working group. Most of these experts also warned against the introduction of land ceilings‚” added Moller.
Among the adverse consequences were the “fragmentation of agricultural land‚ a negative impact on productivity‚ a reduction in the profitability of agribusinesses‚ very little positive effect – or none at all – on poverty relief‚ high administration costs and a negative impact on investment in the sector”.
“We would be gambling with food security‚” said Moller. – TMG Digital