Land ceilings have adverse consequences – Johannes Moller

Agri SA says we cannot afford to experiment with something that has failed internationally, we would be gambling with food security

Agri SA responds to Minister Nkwinti's latest statements on land ceilings

24 May 2016  

On 26 April, Minister Nkwinti said in his budget vote that the Regulation of Land Holdings Bill, which proposes that the size of land that any individual or entity may own should be limited, would be tabled in Parliament in June.  More recently, on 21 May, the Minister reportedly said during a land hand-over 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.

The Bill also prohibits ownership of land by foreigners. The legislation has not yet been published for commentary or submitted to Parliament, said Agri SA president Johannes Moller in Upington.

“There has been talk of so-called land ceilings since the release of the Green Paper on Land Reform in 2011. 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.

“International experience with land ceilings has indicated adverse consequences, such as 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 certainly cannot afford to experiment with something that has failed so dismally internationally. We would be gambling with food security,” according to Moller.

“Agri SA is waiting for the publication of the Bill and will immediately have it scrutinised by senior counsel,” said Moller.

Issued by Thea Liebenberg on behalf of Agri SA, Directorate: Corporate Liaison, 24 May 2016