‘Banks Announce SA Farmers Must Repay Loans After Land is Taken’ – Nedbank responds to viral video
The land expropriation debate has crossed South Africa’s borders, with some left- and right-wing voices taking a stance for and against the issue. What is painfully shocking is both the ignorance and hyperbole from each side.
Just this week a video was posted by a man named Alex Jones entitled: “Banks Announce South African Farmers Must Repay Loans After Land is Taken” .
The headline is enough to entice even the most level-headed individual into watching the 11-minute history lesson and “Bombshell” news that farmers will be expected to repay their loans after their land is taken.
The implied message is that farmers’ land WILL be TAKEN; that those whose land is taken will still HAVE TO pay off their loans and that ALL banks in South Africa have agreed to this.
The fact is this: Nedbank received a query from one of its customers who likely asked IF they should still continue paying their bond with the land expropriation debate ongoing.
The email communique depicted in the video is authentic, according to a report in The Citizen, and reads:
“Dear customer, thank you for the query you have raised with regard to the impact of land expropriation to your bonded property.
“Nedbank is not privy to what provisions may be made for land purchasers whose land is encumbered, and what the proposed Review Committee would come up with to address this. However, we believe a balance needs to be achieved between the parliamentary agenda, and in particular the law of contract.
“It is important to note the Home Loan agreement is subject to a contractual agreement, and bond payments remain due and payable until such time that the bond is paid in full irrespective of any form of land appropriation — with or without compensation.
“We would encourage you to continue with the bond payments until such time a determination is made the time of which is also unknown to us. We trust that our response meets with your expectation.”
Getting clarity in the storm
With the outrage this video has caused, we approached Nedbank for comment on the email and to ascertain clarity on the issue.
Nedbank responded as such:
“The land reform process, which is currently before Parliament, has sparked much debate locally and globally. As a matter of national significance, Nedbank has an important role to play in this process and how it unfolds. A pragmatic and sustainable approach to land reform is necessary to address the inequalities owing to our country’s history. Nedbank believes that it is vital that this sensitive and important issue is handled appropriately to ensure that there are no adverse impacts on our economic growth and food security.
“President Cyril Ramaphosa clarified in the Financial Times on 24 August that ‘This is no land grab. Nor is it an assault on the private ownership of property. The ANC has been clear that its land reform programme should not undermine future investment in the economy or damage agricultural production and food security’.
“Currently, the Constitutional Review Committee is investigating proposed changes to Section 25 of the Constitution, which still needs to be fully debated and will have to pass constitutional and legal muster on multiple fronts. We believe that it would be wise to wait for this process to be finalised, rather than pre-empt this without the detail. We urge our clients to be patient as this process unfolds. Until there’s further clarity on this process, it is business as usual at Nedbank. We continue to assess and grant new mortgage loans as per our usual rules and processes. Bond repayments, which are the subject of a contractual agreement, remain due and payable. Nedbank supports the need for successful and sustainable land reform and we will play our part in the Parliamentary process in positioning an approach that is in the best interests of our country.”
The law of contract remains until such time as the expropriation debate is finalised and a path is forged to move forward. Videos such the one from Alex Jones only add fuel to a raging fire or misinformation and deepen the divide between people groups and countrymen.
South Africans need to test the veracity and logic of everything they are “fed” online, and should avoid getting caught up in the noise.
As far as this video and Nedbank’s response goes, the bank is clear: “Nedbank’s stance is business as usual until such time and everyone has clarity on the outcome of the Parliamentary process, legal position and approach.”