Published: Fri, August 03, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Rand takes a knock on Ramaphosa’s land expropriation talk

Rand takes a knock on Ramaphosa’s land expropriation talk

South Africa will push ahead with plans to amend the constitution to allow land expropriation without compensation, its president says.

Farming associations have slammed the ANC's announcement that it intends to amend the constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation.

Background: Since the end of apartheid in 1994, many South Africans have argued that expropriation is necessary to end the white population's perceived disproportionate ownership of land.

The IMF's annual policy report on South Africa said that while the government had managed to achieve a balancing act in terms of deciding on land to be redistributed, expropriating land without compensating its owners would turn investors away.

Last year, South Africa's then-president Jacob Zuma publically endorsed the idea of seizing land, previously floated by the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party.

A proper reading of the Constitution on the property clause enables the state to effect expropriation of land with just and equitable compensation and also expropriation without compensation in the public interest.

The millionaire ex-businessman argued that "it has become pertinently clear that our people want the constitution to be more explicit" about the proposal, which is viewed by the South African white minority as forceful expulsion that can incite violence against farmers.

The ruling party has once again remained vague about the exact details of how land reform will be handled and some critics have called the announcement nothing more than an attempt to nullify the voice of the EFF in the lead up to the 2019 general election.

Based on a survey of title deeds, the government says blacks own four percent of private land, and only eight percent of farmland has been transferred to black hands, well short of a target of 30 percent that was meant to have been reached in 2014.

The ANC would go "through the parliamentary process" with the amendment.

Annelize Crosby, policy and legal advisor of Agri SA, said the organisation was totally against the amendment of the Constitution, since land reform could be achieved through public-private partnerships within the framework of the Constitution as it now stood.

The lekgotla reaffirmed its position that a comprehensive land reform programme that enables equitable access to land will unlock economic growth‚ by bringing more land in South Africa to full use‚ and enable the productive participation of millions more South Africans in the economy.

"Parliament still has to gather and evaluate the many submissions that have been made".

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