Shares in farms a smoke-screen for expropriation

plaasThe issue of proposed shares for farmworkers is a thinly disguised attempt by government to expropriate farms and could allow the uncertainty amongst South African farmers about their future to reach crisis levels, Mr. Pieter Groenewald, the Freedom Front Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on Rural Development and Land Reform, said.

Mr. Groenewald said the proposals contained in a policy document of the department of Rural Development and Land Reform about the voluntary issuing of shares to farmworkers, boils down to nothing less than brutal expropriation of land, similar to that which took place in Zimbabwe.

According to Mr. Groenewald the document is making waves in agricultural circles and the proposals have been met with great concern.

One of the proposals in the document is that a person with ten year service is entitled to 10% shares for 50 years. The document does not at all make mention of what would happen if workers eventually hold the majority of the shares in a farm.

The document also mentions that it intends to reverse a wide range of uncertainties regarding property rights which were brought about by land expropriation, humiliation and exploitation of people.

Mr. Groenewald said the proposals are frightening and could cause enormous harm to South Africa’s agriculture as it could lead to large scale disinvestment.

“What will happen if a farmer has four workers who worked on his farm for 25 years each? Will that mean that they could take over ownership without compensation and the farmer has to seek another livelihood?

“South Africans and the world should open their eyes now about the ANC government’s plans with land ownership in South Africa.

“It is clear that the land reform program is a miserable failure and other plans are now being made to expropriate land from farmers without compensating them,” Groenewald said.