Wednesday, July 27, 2005



27 – 31 JULY 2005

The Union’s Executive Committee decided to attend the National Land Summit facilitated by the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs at NASREC, Expo Centre, Rand Show Grounds, South Africa, as from 27 -30 July 2005 on certain terms.

TAU SA is attending and is participating in the proceedings of the Summit on the following pre-conditions:

1. TAU SA is participating in the National Land Summit by the auspices of its General Council and is therefore directly liable to the Council;

2. TAU SA is representing the concerns of commercial agriculture and the interests of its members;

3. TAU SA is not attending the Summit to join in events to celebrate the Freedom Charter;

4. TAU SA is participating in the deliberations in an exclusive way by taking part in discussions only, not in any other way of communication and also only by enhancing the principles by which it approaches agriculture;

5. TAU SA will not be approving any recommendations unless it has been condoned by TAU SA’s General Council and the Council has confirmed it as such in an explicit, written statement.

Mr Willem Lewies, Deputy President of TAU SA and Chairman of the TAU SA Property Rights Committee, presented the following speech at 14:00 at the National Land Summit today:



Mr Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen

The TAU SA takes this opportunity to present the case of Commercial Agriculture and Land Reform to this Summit. The principles at stake are that of productive and sustainable agriculture to ensure food security in an economy based on private property rights and market forces, by farmers well acquainted with the ecology and environment of the South African region.

According to Government “(T)he main objective of the Summit is to find solutions to the Land and Agrarian problems and challenges …related to Land Redistribution and Restitution, Agrarian Reform, Land use and Human Settlement.” The moral issue raised is that of rights that imply that “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that people shall share in the wealth of the country.”

Land Reform includes Land Redistribution and Restitution, Agrarian Reform, Land use and Human Settlement, which is also AgriBEE.


The aim of this presentation is to enlighten the Land Summit regarding the risks and dangers of Land Reform in the agricultural sector if implemented in an unscientific and irrational way without considering the context of sound economic principles.


The myths on which Land Reform, as applied in the agricultural sector are based, create unstable ground for agriculture. These myths are propagated in rural communities and through public media.

Ø Myth no 1: In South Africa a minority of white landowners have all the land, leaving the majority of people without access to it and in miserable conditions;

Ø Myth no 2: The white landowners do not adequately cultivate their properties, thereby harming agricultural production and contributing to the fact that the majority of the population live in hunger and misery;

Ø Myth no 3; There is a great disparity in the distribution of wealth making the rich even richer and the poor even poorer, therefore the farmers are an untapped source of income;

Ø Myth no 4: Land reform will spread property ownership and increase production, employment, and the income of those who live in the rural areas;

Ø Myth no 5: Land Reform in South Africa is a prerequisite for economic growth and is not against free economy;

Ø Myth no 6: It is irresponsible to go ahead with the aims of this Summit otherwise there will be a general revolt of the poor masses leading South Africa into a social revolution with grave political, social and economic consequences.

These myths are based on the restructuring of the agricultural and economic history of South Africa to fit the purpose of the so called democratic political revolution. The re-writing of the history of land and property rights in the idiom of Socialism is now the main aim for the redistribution of land and to support Land Reform policy, irrespective of the facts and figures of the past. It’s also true that reality will prove these myths wrong and unfounded.


The context in which Land Reform is applied, is within a construct of the present government’s ideological and political position. This construct is defined in the following terms:

Ø Research by TAU SA on Land Reform shows that “Land Reform is the elimination of large and medium properties, of the system of wage compensation, and of share cropping. The corollary result is the elevation of the manual labourer to the status of independent tiller of a single family or even collective property, as in most land reform programmes”. This is in general the case with arable land.

Ø The implementation of the Land Reform programme in accordance with the ideological predisposition of Land Restitution and the BBBEE policy of the SA Government, will impact on the sustainability of food production, food security and competitiveness of Commercial Agriculture in the globalised economies, in an environment of food insecurity and economic decay in the Southern African region.

The agricultural and economical framework of commercial agriculture in regard to the need for agricultural produce is defined in the following terms;

Ø Commercial Agriculture is a high-risk and climatologically sensitive and responsible industry with a high strategic profile that impacts on the basic existence of every person by delivering sustenance to combat under-nourishment, malnutrition and famine and secure health on a sustainable competitive and commercial basis in globalised economies.

The interaction between these distinguished components as indicated emphasizes that the implications of the application of Land Reform should be determined by scientific and feasibility studies and put in a geo-political context.

Ø “Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” (World Food Summit in 1996),

The essence of commercial agriculture in South Africa is to provide food security in an economic and sustainable way, in a destabilised political and economic environment.


The following external force fields impacts on the sustainability of commercial agriculture (Research by Intersearch):

Poverty: Ben Roberts of the Human Sciences Research Council indicated that the aids pandemic had the potential to “severely undermine the likelihood of attaining many of the millennium goals, including the poverty target”. He argued that 70% of people in southern Africa live below the poverty line on less than $2 (R13) a day and 40% on less than $1 a day. Poverty continues to rise with 27% from 315 million to 400 million by 2015

Famine: Traditionally, famine was a result of drought. Now, HIV/AIDS has replaced drought as the main cause of famine. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) calls it the “loss of intergenerational knowledge” and the result is the loss of local knowledge of agro-ecology and farming practices. This knowledge is usually transferred from mother to daughter, but “with the death of parents, the transfer of knowledge about seeds and cropping patterns is lost.” This short-circuits in knowledge transfer, cuts the vital link of societal survival. It seems that chronic food shortages could become part of the regional scene in the next ten years.

Food Aid: Countries bordering South Africa are all dependent on food aid from countries with strong and stable economies and high volumes of food production. Food aid is the result of the failure agricultural policies based on Land Reform and the direct or indirect socialisation of land. Food aid has enslaved and destroyed agricultural production in most of the countries.

Work and job losses: 75% of the people in Africa are without proper jobs and without any possibility of getting jobs. Job losses occur in agriculture as the impact of Land Reform is experienced in rural areas. The average wworld trade in agriculture, the main exports from Africa has decreased from 5.3% in 1948 to 1.8% in 2003 and is still sliding.

Land; The issue of land in its essence must be defined within the context of the principles of food production. Land is experienced by some black people as the basis of their riches. Other black middle class see land as a culmination of their riches and a piece of land to build a house. Commercial farmers see land as a means of production. The re-distribution of land outside the context as a means of production and economic competitiveness of commercial agriculture within the markets, is at stake and will eventually be eroded by Land Reform. The essence is that the competitiveness based on the knowledgeable experience of the farmer is not negotiable and can not be replaced once it left the agricultural sector and his land.

The Right to Private property: The issue on the right to private property of commercial agriculture is the essence of land redistribution through Land Reform and AgriBEE. The principle of private property is the basis on which the productiveness and competitiveness of commercial agriculture and the value chain of food security exists.

It is within this geo-political framework that the impact of Land Reform on agricultural production and food security should be validated.


"Good agricultural practices are our (Food and Agriculture Organisation) way of translating all the wishful thinking on sustainable agriculture into very concrete recommendations for countries and production systems - and also for consumers so they know what they're buying”. (FAO – 2001).

This lays down the basis for sustainable commercial agriculture as the essence of food security. Economic growth, know how and entrepreneurs with high technology and information driven agriculture practices will be the farmers of the future. South Africa is already losing knowledgeable farmers from their land as a result of the policies and practices by Government in the quest for Land Reform, which we know from research was a futile experience in many countries.

The Government expects the Land Reform Programme and restitution to be the central pivot to alleviate poverty. In the mean time the degradation of the agricultural sector will be in no position to contribute to the upliftment of the rural areas. The loss in information and human capital in agriculture to the number of 12 000 commercial farmers will impact on the viability of the sector.

Louise O. Fresco of the FAO said the world is more complex than in the past, and it is being made ever more so by globalisation. This also applies to the policy of Land Reform. The following factors are of importance:

Ø The human resource vacuum increases through transition and transformation of existing structures;

Ø Systematic regression of the abilities of good governance, infrastructure and capacity in more than 40 years reaches a point of no return;

Ø 70% to 80% exports of the region is in agricultural products and do not penetrate the international markets irrespective of the trade barriers that are lifted;

Ø Foreign aid to the estimate R350 billion is necessary to kick start Africa economies;

Ø Land claims lodged will require R 17 billion to settle and will distort the agri-economy if the willing buyer, willing seller principle is disregarded.

The financial implication of Land Reform that includes land redistribution is more than the GNP can bear. Commercial agriculture and land is too scarce and a valuable strategic resource to risk in such a socialistic venture. South Africa does not have the luxury in time and resources to rectify the results of an experiment gone wrong.


Of the 84 900 000 hectare of land approximately 26 000, 000 hectare of arable land will be redistributed through land restitution. Agri BEE will take another 26 505 000 hectare. This leaves us with 32 395 000 hectare arable land. This excludes the communal land that is already in the possession of the State, previously part of the National States and still the basis of subsistence farming. This is the land that has to deliver food security to South Africa and the southern African region.

The process of land restitution is based on land claims. In spite of the procedures laid down by law, land claims is a major issue for land owners because the right to private property is at stake. The landowner is excluded from the process of the land claim until it is published in the Government Gazette. The marginalisation of the farmer as proprietor until the last moment is a distortion of the right of private property.

The process of Land Reform also jeopardise the civil rights of the farmer if the implementation of the act is forced onto the farming community as a political process without supporting the economic viability of the agrarian communities. Land claims and the constant threat of AgriBEE impacts on the psychological and social structures of the rural communities and creates a society in imbalance.

More agricultural land is available on the free market and approximately 2003 farms have already been offered to the Department of Land Affairs for possession. In the mean time more claims are published on agricultural land. It is unlikely that the commercial productive farms will continue its production after the claimants have possessed the farm. The question arises if the claimants are farmers, potential farmers or only subsistence farmers. Will they sustain the optimal ecologically balanced production potential of the land? According to resent examples it is unlikely that commercial agriculture will benefit from this process.

The process of Land Reform should enhance the commercial production of food and provide the structures and environment for black emerging farmers without discriminating against white commercial farmers.


TAU SA hereby emphasises that the future success of South Africa’s commercial agriculture and sustainable food production in globalised economies, will be determined by international economic and financial standards and regulations, and not by South African standards and a Land Reform Programme. TAU SA maintains the point of view that free economic and market forces must determine the development of Economic Empowerment in the agricultural sector.

The test for successful agriculture is when food is produced in quantity and quality on a commercial basis to impact on the basic existence of every person by delivering sustenance to combat under-nourishment, malnutrition and famine and secure health on a sustainable competitive and commercial basis in globalised economies.

With the collapse of the economies of the neighbouring states and the regression of social services the South African economy will have to grow with 6% to 7 %. This is unlikely if the loss in human capital through an aggressive transformation process and policy continues and the burden on services in rural areas escalates. The influx of illegal foreigners and the unprotected borders will eventually restrict the growth and put more stress on commercial agricultural land. This scenario is not far fetched if all the existing factors intertwine with a high risk industry like agriculture.

The terrain of agriculture is a highly sensitive area, therefore:

Ø Commercial Agriculture is a high-risk and climatologically sensitive and responsible industry with a high strategic profile that impacts on the basic existence of every person by delivering sustenance to combat under-nourishment, malnutrition and famine and secure health on a sustainable competitive and commercial basis in globalised economies.

The relation between commercial agriculture and sustainable food production and security is determined by the position of Government. On the intervention of government through Land Reform the following quote gives the necessary insight:

Ø “Plans aiming at a more or less equal distribution of the soil among the farming population are, under the conditions of the market economy, merely plans for granting privileges to a group of less efficient producers at the expense of the immense majority of consumers. The operation of the market tends to eliminate all those farmers whose cost of production is higher than the marginal cost needed for the production of that amount of farm products the consumers are ready to buy. It determines the size of farms as well as the methods of production applied. If the government interferes in order to make a different arrangement of the conditions of farming prevail, it raises the average price of farm products.” (Ludwig von Mises, Austrian Economist),

To preserve a sustainable commercial agriculture sector Government must re-think its position on Land Reform, agricultural production and food security in a globalised economy.


In conclusion TAU SA’s position on Land Reform can not change from the stance that Land Reform and the BBBEE framework for Agriculture will jeopardise the property rights, production and competitiveness of commercial agriculture in a sensitive and high risk industry to the detriment of food production and food security.

What will befall South Africa is summarised by the following quote if this Land Summit does not address these issues in a rational and scientific way:

“After decades of mismanagement and corruption, most African states become hollowed out. They are no longer instruments capable of serving the public good. Indeed, far from being able to provide aid and protection to their citizens African governments and the vampire-like politicians who run them are regarded by the populations they rule as yet another burden they have to bear in the struggle for survival” (Meredith, M.; 2005. p.668).

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