Following a week which saw four Expropriation without Compensation (EWC) hearings taking place in KwaZulu-Natal by Parliament’s Joint Constitutional Review Committee (CRC), the KZN Agricultural Union, Kwanalu, has commended its members for being proactive, and for playing a critical role in the future of agriculture in the province.
At the EWC hearings which took place in Vryheid, Jozini, Pietermaritzburg and Kokstad between 18 and 21 July, the CRC asked attendees two questions: Is Section 25 of the Constitution hindering expropriation of land without compensation? And secondly, what changes would you like to see for the proper implementation of Section 25 of the Constitution?
The hearings saw commercial and small-scale farmers, agri-businesses and management of Kwanalu attending answering the questions, speaking about their experiences, opinions on land reform and transformation and how successful models and mechanisms should rather be implemented.
Calls for successful models and mechanisms of land reform and transformation were made with reference to past problems that have been experienced around land reform such as poor implementation of existing legislation and programmes, inadequate budgets and corruption.
“Kwanalu is of the sound view that through partnerships, farmers can play a key role and assist with implementation and help to ensure that land reform is sustainable,” said CEO of Kwanalu, Sandy La Marque.
Kwanalu and its members’ position on EWC is that the property clause is not an obstacle or impediment to land reform and that no changes need to be made to Section 25 of the Constitution in order to achieve just and equitable land redistribution.
“We oppose any constitutional amendments to Section 25 as a viable mechanism for speeding up the national imperative of land reform,” said La Marque.
La Marque went on to say “We will uphold the rights of our members from whom land is expropriated in the national public interest to receive just and equitable compensation. We believe that just and equitable compensation, as provided for in Section 25 of the Constitution, is a cornerstone of any progressive economy.”
Since the call to review Section 25 of the Constitution in February, Kwanalu has been working together with its members to support them in their presentations to the CRC, providing them with a carefully considered framework for their voices to be heard.
“We wanted to ensure that our members’ presentations were carefully considered and delivered. Unfortunately the hearings were emotionally charged as expected, with a lack of tolerance and respect shown towards participants. We would like to commend our members on their presentations and for taking the time to attend. It is of vital importance that our farmers stand together as organised agriculture in order for their voices to be heard,” said La Marque.