Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) has noted the intention by the African National Congress (ANC) 54th National Conference to initiate some amendments to the Constitution of South Africa in order to achieve expropriation without compensation, while at the same time indicating that expropriation would also have to pass a sustainability test so as not to threaten food security, agricultural production and other sectors of the economy. Article 25 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, provides for the expropriation of land that is compensated in a “just and equitable” manner. Article 25 further recognises the need to redress the historical injustices in the process of addressing land restitution.
BUSA expressed serious concern that the ANC’s decisions on land would result in policy uncertainty with negative socio-economic impact particularly undesirable in the current economic climate. BUSA said that the intention to initiate amendments to the Constitution of South Africa, when the existing provisions in Article 25 had not been implemented, was unwarranted. BUSA indicated that it will be seeking an urgent meeting with the ANC leadership to obtain clarity on this matter, as well as on other matters of key interest arising out of the conference.
“The issue of land reform is complex. The pace and depth of transformation has been patently insufficient – this needs to be comprehensively addressed. At the same time we need to build confidence so as to stimulate investment and production in the agricultural sector as a critical part of a diverse, inclusive and globally competitive economy,” stated BUSA CEO, Tanya Cohen.
BUSA views land restitution as an important instrument for fostering economic growth and black economic transformation. The acceleration of land redistribution needs to balance the urgency of social redress with sustainable land usage and food security.