In The News South Africa

Ramaphosa walks tightrope on land expropriation without compensation

JOHANNESBURG, December 21 – In his first speech as African National Congress (ANC) president Cyril Ramaphosa told delegates to the national conference which elected him that expropriation of land without compensation will be implemented, but in a way that would not hurt the economy.
“This conference with overwhelming agreement, unanimous agreement has resolved that expropriation of land without compensation should be among the mechanisms available to government to give effect to land reform and land redistribution,” he said at the close of conference in the early hours of Thursday morning.
He reiterated the party position that the implementation of the conference resolution on land reform would not be done in a manner that would undermine the economy, agricultural production and food security, in what appeared to be an attempt to appease those fearful of land grabs.
“The ANC has always taken care to seek to manage the economy of our country in a way that will advance the interests of our people,” Ramaphosa said.
“There have been weaknesses from time  to time, but in the main since 1994 we have taken care to manage this very sophisticated and complex economy of South Africa with due care, and even with this decision we are going to make sure that as it is implemented, we will manage the implementation of this decision with due care in the interests of our people as a whole.”
During a media briefing on Wednesday, the party’s subcommittee chairman on socio-economic transformation, Enoch Godongwana, said the ANC resolved to forge ahead with an amendment to section 25 of the Constitution of the republic to ensure the expropriation of land without compensation happens.
Section 25 of the South African Constitution deals with property rights, and while it allows for the expropriation of land for public purpose and or in the public interest, it clearly states that land owners must be compensated by the government
Godongwana said there were conditions attached to the conference decision on expropriation without compensation, which was adopted at the party’s policy conference in June. The sustainability of going ahead with it was one of these.
According to Godongwana those who obtained land illegally will not be compensated.
The resolution also stated no illegal occupation of land will be tolerated.
The conference resolution will be discussed at a meeting with stakeholders, including non-governmental organisations and legal experts early next year, said Godongwana.
It’s been 23 years since democratic rule replaced white minority apartheid rule in South Africa yet most of the country’s land remains in white hands.
The lack of land reform has led to the illegal occupation of land and tensions between black and white citizens in South Africa, with the one side saying the lack of land ownership continues to demoralise and impoverish black people.
On the other hand, arguments are made that land expropriation without compensation will lead to disinvestment in a country which is already experiencing tough economic times.
– African News Agency (ANA),

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