Are SA’s Land Expropriation Plans Putting Investment Properties at Risk?

Land expropriation has been gathering steam lately, with political parties and governments laying on the pressure to develop and achieve the land reform goals that have been promised for decades. This is a heated area of contention and has brought a lot of anxiety into the property market, with home and property owners wondering if their properties will be seized and investors unsure if their investments are safe. While this issue is still in the process of being formalized, here are some insights on what’s been happening so far.

What the New Land Bill Says

South Africa has had a land bill, namely the Expropriation of Land Act, since 1976. The new bill that is causing so much uproar actually is far less draconian than the original act, as it includes many more rights and considerations than its predecessor. While land redistribution to address historical injustices and inequalities is seen as essential in South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa has categorically stated that the manner in which land expropriation will be carried out should be designed not to harm agricultural production, the economy or our nation’s food security. While these are words designed to make citizens on all sides of the issue feel more secure, many people still feel a threat to their property and investments looming.

What Property Investment Specialists Say

So, what should homeowners and property investors do? Should we all sell our homes and offload our investments before they are taken from us through government policy? Along with other leaders in the property investment industry, I have to say no. Absolutely not. While many people can shout about taking property without compensation, the truth is that it is an incredibly complex process that has to pass through many mechanisms of government, including public participation and the Constitutional Court. Homeowners have rights protected by the courts – and so do bondholders like banks and other financial institutions – making any attempt to push an expropriation policy through likely to be blocked by a flood of court cases.

So, what’s the right course of action? Firstly – as the old saying goes – keep calm and carry on. Keep your eye on property investment news sources and when it comes to your chance to make your voice heard, make sure that you’re ready to have your say. Land expropriation done the right way – by keeping bondholder, home and property rights intact – can be a positive change of course for South Africa by righting injustices and paving the way to a stronger, more active and vibrant economy. Something our property market would thrive on.

Jason Scholtz is the CEO at Envision Investments and a leader in the property and strategic investments industry in South Africa. For more investor tips and an insider’s look into the South African market, be sure to get in touch, keep an eye on this blog or visit http://www.envisioninvestments.co.za/

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