Why ANC’s new land policy may not go down well at World Economic Forum

Concerns about impact on investor confidence, food supply, property rights.

It is unclear whether the ANC’s new policy of land expropriation without compensation will affect the country’s standing with potential investors at the upcoming World Economic Forum (WEF).

As Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa prepares to represent the country in Davos, Switzerland, the agricultural industry is concerned about the potential effects of the policy, which stakeholders said could infringe on property rights, damage investor confidence and create uncertainty.

Wandile Sihlobo, an economist at the Agricultural Business Chamber, said the organisation was concerned about the ramifications of the policy. But the ANC had not divulged enough information about who it would benefit for it to be clear how South Africa would fare at the WEF.

“There is no final decision, but the ANC gave a mandate at the [December national elective] conference. Broadly speaking, expropriation without compensation is not ideal. Apart from the uncertainty it would cause, there is also the effect on property rights and land-related investments.

“The ANC has indicated it would open up a debate with all stakeholders, but they are yet to release any details. As we speak, they have decided to go for it without amending the constitution, but it’s unclear how they will carry out this policy.”

He said the ANC’s promise to implement the policy without negatively affecting the economy or the agricultural industry would be a difficult balancing act.

AgriSA said it rejected the notion that expropriating land without compensation would expedite the land reform process and access to land on an equitable basis without impeding food security.

“Agricultural economists have highlighted the impact it would have on food production, farming units and the economy in general,” it said.


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