Foreign Land ownership has been a controversial issue all over Africa and the world at large. There is always a huge fight between governments and the people and it has resulted in unfair land redistribution amongst the locals. It becomes a completely different and equally difficult situation when the land issue now involves foreigners. We are looking at land and not property. Many nations around the world have set laws around the land ownership issue especially with reference to foreigners.
The South African President’s state of the nation address brought about a new law in reference to the land bill. This is known as the Land Holdings Bill, this law is directed towards Foreigners and states that they will not be able to own land but rather will be granted a long term Lease. This however will not be the normal as the lease agreements will have to be approved in special circumstances by the President. The bill will follow the normal process before being approved. This means the bill will be presented to Cabinet for the official processing.
There has been mixed feelings with regards to this bill, Dr Andrew Gordon a notable professional in the built environment and Chief executive of Pam Golding properties was quoted as saying that the passing of this bill could lead to the loss of Investor Confidence in the nation. This could be absolutely true as potential investors could choose other destinations.
The bill generally seeks to address a number of issues but the main one being to provide a permanent solution to the land injustice brought about in colonial times. It will also address the issue of the appropriate use of land and many other reasons. We will have to wait and see whether the bill will be passed on as law and how long it will take to be implemented. Regardless of time frame, this is a very sensitive subject and it will certainly shake the economy.