South Africa’s Parliament on Tuesday voted to amend property clauses in South Africa’s supreme law to pave the way for the government’s policy of acquiring land without compensation, which it says is necessary to redistribute land forcibly taken from blacks during white rule.

The motion, brought by the opposition EFF, was supported by the ruling African National Congress, leading to a 241/83 vote in its favour.

The main opposition DA voted against the motion, saying there was already a land redistribution programme in place, which the government was not doing enough to implement.

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The DA and other critics say land expropriation without compensation undermines property rights in South Africa.

On Wednesday, AgriSA said politics and emotion had dominated Tuesday’s debate on land in the national assembly.

“Rational arguments regarding the possible implications that such a step may hold for the agricultural sector and the broader economy were absent from the debate,” it said.

“The fact is that financial institutions are substantially invested in the sector and that expropriation without compensation will also impact negatively on the banking sector. Such a step will probably lead to a situation where financial institution will no longer make production loans available to farmers.”

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Without loans, farmers could not purchase seed, fertiliser, feed or implements and would be unable to produce, it argued.

The EFF has dismissed concerns about threats to food security as unfounded.

The proposed amendment will now be referred to the Constitutional Review Committee which must report back to Parliament by 30 August.

– African News Agency