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May 17, 2010

South Africa minister says commercial farmers to give up 40% to black shareholders

South Africa Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Petterson has said that commercial farmers would have to give up 40% of the value of their farms to Black shareholders under a proposed plan that will replace the current “willing-buyer-willing-seller” program.

Joemat-Petterson said the current pace of land transformation in the farming sector was “slow” and must be increased, or South Africa will be on its way to a situation that would make what went on in Zimbabwe look like a “teddy bear’s picnic.”

In a strongly-worded press release, TAU/SA President Ben Marais, called Joemat-Petterson’s proposal “outrageous and totally unacceptable.”

Representatives from the Famers’ Union were stood up by Joemat-Petterson last week for a pre-scheduled meeting on the issue, Marais noted. "A demographical study for the Development Bank tabled in 2001 indicates that the state, together with black people, brown people and Asians already own more than 56% of land in South Africa,” Marais added.

“TAU/SA on behalf of its members will oppose this in the national interest, because the minister’s plan is a blueprint for the destruction of food security. This experiment will be as much a failure as the last,” Marais said in his statement.

FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder, who is Joemat-Petterson’s deputy, said he was not aware of the plan, which will be discussed at the ANC’s national conference in September.

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