Land reform is an emotive issue in South Africa and is symbolic of the broader unfairness that characterises South African society. Land ownership provides an avenue to upward economic and social mobility and the unequal distribution of land ownership, together with lack of access to affordable housing in well located areas, is a significant factor in South Africa’s economic inequality.
We must act as one to remove the following constraints to land reform:
Lack of political will: despite the availability of legislative provision making progressive land reform possible, the political leadership of South Africa has failed to address land reform with any level of urgency. Instead, land reform has been manipulated as a political issue that drives divisions between different parts of society and provides the ruling party with leverage over citizens.
Policy uncertainty: the ANC’s support for expropriation without compensation has created a high level of policy uncertainty in South Africa, effectively discouraging investors due to no guaranteed protections of property rights. This in turn is contributing to growing levels of unemployment and poverty.
Lack of capacity: the lack of political will and endemic corruption has crippled the institutions responsible for administering land reform.
Public housing failures: the provision of public housing is hampered by lack of funding, an unrealistic model, lack of densification and overly complex land use legislation and corruption.
What We Believe
Land reform is an essential aspect of addressing the legacy of our past and must be accelerated. However, land reform must happen in a responsible manner that protects property rights and investors’ confidence.
We oppose the amendment of the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation.
Responsible land reform is possible through utilising existing legislative and regulatory frameworks but requires political leadership that is committed to achieving the equitable distribution of ownership rights.
Correctly managed, land reform can used to empower emerging black farmers, create jobs in the agricultural sector and provide food security.
Housing provision must be accelerated by adopting innovative measures to provide affordable, well-located public housing and transferring title deeds. Housing provisions should promote densification, create sustainable and inclusive communities, integrate housing and economic opportunities and adopt technological advances.
Reject the amendment of section 25 of the Constitution and expropriation without compensation. We support of the protection of private property rights as a fundamental economic principle
Support the suggested legislative amendments proposed by the High-Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change.
Support and capacitate institutions responsible for land reform, such as the Land Claims Court, to speed up the process of land reform.
Oppose the amendments to the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act (ULTRA) that would provide an implausible level of discretion to the appropriate Minister of the Cabinet to approve applications for conversion of land tenure rights.
Conduct a comprehensive audit of state-owned land and property to identify land that is not being used productively by the state and transfer ownership to qualifying individuals.
Implement land reform with empowerment mechanisms, including knowledge and skills transfer, to ensure that new landowners have the knowledge and skills necessary to optimally manage and leverage their properties.
Urban land reform and access to affordable housing, must be prioritised as part of a broader strategy aimed at building an inclusive society.
Work with private sector partners to increase productivity in the agriculture sector and unlock economic opportunities.
Implement a national strategy aimed at ensuring that South Africa retains food resilience in the face of climate change.
Support responsible agricultural sector transformation by supporting specialised skills development for emerging black farmers. We believe that transformation efforts should not lead to the exclusion of existing farmers but rather that their expertise and knowledge provides a valuable resource in empowering emerging farmers.
Capacitate South Africa’s agricultural sector to become the region’s “food basket,” especially as neighbouring countries’ food security deteriorates due to climate change. As such, proactive steps must be taken to ensure regional food security.
Encourage share ownership schemes that empower farmworkers to benefit from the fruits of their labour.
Address rural safety as a priority issue that impacts on both farm owners and farmworkers.