The proposed new law for agricultural land reform was published in the Government Gazette this week. Front Nasionaal, BKA and Volksteun submitted the objection, quoted in full below, to the office of the minister, and approached a number of other organisations to support us in submitting objections.
We now also call on individual South Africans to submit your objection within the next 10 days by sending an email, stating your grounds for objection, to the following email addresses:
AGRICULTURAL LAND: GOVERNMENT GAZETTE No. 40697 29 March 17, 2017
The Regulation of Agricultural Land Holdings Act, 2017.
PUBLIC RESPONSE FROM FRONT NATIONAL, A REGISTERED POLITICAL PARTY WITH THE INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION;
AND IT’S SUBSIDIARIES BOERE KRISISAKSIE AND VOLKSTEUN, comprising in total in excess of 200 000 people.
As the duly elected leadership of Front National we unanimously wish to lodge our disapproval of the proposed Law and certain proposed stipulations, namely:
Disclosure of present ownership
Section 15 (1) and (2) stipulate that owners of agricultural land must disclose the race, gender and nationality of the owner within 12 months.
Front National finds this to be in complete contravention of the present Constitution brought about by the ANC government to create a “non-racial society” and which is indeed pursued by all Government Departments. We regard this stipulation as racist and aimed against the white population as a minority group. We hold this view in terms of the public utterances of politicians of political parties such as the ANC and EFF, and we reject it outright as racist and vengeful.
Section 15 (b) stipulates that farmers must disclose the size and use of the agricultural land holdings; (c) any real right registered against and license allocated to the agricultural land holdings; and (d) any other information as may be prescribed.
Front National regards this as a serious breach of personal freedom and the right to own and work property and land in accordance with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights’ universal declaration. Although adopted as a nonbinding resolution in 1948, the Universal Declaration has over time attained the status of customary international law. The Universal Declaration addresses the right to private property ownership in Article 17, which states that “everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others” and that “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.”
Categories of ceilings for agricultural land holdings
Section 25 (1) (a) stipulates that different “ceilings” must be declared, namely:
2 (a) land capability factors, including high, medium and unique agricultural land, grazing and cropping land, climatic factors; (ii) matters pertaining to the current production output, commodity-specific
constraints, farm size, farm viability, economies of scale, agro-industries on farms, number of farm workers and their dependents; (iii) variations in physical potential in terms of soil type, soil depth and quality, grazing capacity, water availability and quality, distances from markets, available infrastructure and any other relevant factor; (b) capital requirements of different enterprises;
Front National regards this as completely socialist and communist and against all free-market principles by being a “Big Brother” gathering information about even a small-scale farmer. Apart from putting tremendous paperwork and bookkeeping on landowners, the bureaucracy of such a stipulation reeks of a greedy government eyeing the most profitable land, especially if the following stipulations are considered:
Section 25 (c) measure of expected household and agro-enterprise income; (d) annual turnover; (e) relationship between product prices and price margins;
It is a totally irrational stipulation that cannot be realistically adhered to; and in fact is a duplication of SARS stipulations.
Redistribution agricultural land
Section 26 (2) (a) stipulates that Black people must be offered the right of first refusal in respect of the redistribution agricultural land; (b) If no Black person acquires the redistribution agricultural land within the prescribed period, such land shall be acquired by the Minister within the prescribed period.
Apart from again being racist in nature and aimed against the white minority, Front National points out that there is no foundation whatsoever found in history to support the claim. The oft-quoted Laws of 1936 and 1913 were indeed used to distribute land to tribal authorities and many white farmers lost their right to property exactly because of that. If the government is serious in trying to be consequent regarding 1913 and 1936 they should immediately reclaim all the land presently in communal hands of the former homelands and under tribal control.
If the government and the Minister claim that tribal and customary land is excluded from the proposed bill, Front National wants the same right, as equals, for ancestral land; especially the former Ohrigstad/Lydenburg land which belonged to the “Hollandsche Zuid Afrikaansche Natie” according to the title deed; also the former Stellaland which was not part of the Unification of South Africa; and various other traditional strips of land which belonged to the white population by title deed; and which was arbitrary taken over by the “New South Africa” in 1994.
(c) The Minister may, subject to legislation regulating expropriation, expropriate the redistribution agricultural land in question.
Again Front National refers to the declaration on Human Rights, Private Ownership and other resolutions of the United Nations regarding this stipulation. Section 26(c) is far too vague and opens the whole land issue up to political interference and personal whims.
Here we refer to the accompanying notes by the Minister in the proposed bill, which states: 1.5 The aim of the Regulation of Agricultural Land Holdings Bill is to reverse the legacy of colonialism and apartheid; and, to ensure a “just and equitable” distribution of agricultural land to Africans.
This shows, according to us, the total disregard the Minister and government both have for the welfare of South Africa and its future agricultural wellbeing. For Front National it sums up the whole proposed bill as a racist and political Law aimed only at the Black majority and the potential votes to be gathered.
As white South Africans we regard the whole proposed bill as aimed at reducing minorities in the country to second-class status and we reject it in totality.
Signed on this 31st day of March 2017
J Engelbrecht – National Leader Front Nasionaal