Changing Constitution not a solution to land problem: minister
Changing the Constitution is not the answer to resolving South Africa's land problem, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said.
“There's a lot of discussion about clause 25(3) of the Constitution... whether it facilitates or frustrates the settlement of the land question,” he said in Johannesburg.
“It may be that the question might be irrelevant.”
He was addressing an African National Congress and Black Business Council meeting on the discussion documents on economic transformation, to be debated at the ANC's policy conference later in the month.
Section 25(3) of the Constitution refers to property rights and land expropriation with fair compensation.
The debate about whether the willing buyer, willing seller concept worked was the wrong approach to the problem of land, as it was the incorrect paradigm, he said.
“That paradigm is that the market mechanism can actually resolve the national [land] grievance... the market mechanism assumes that things are equal, and things are not equal, far from it.”
The land problem began 100 years ago when mainly white people acquired land through dispossession. After 18 years of democracy, land was still disproportionally owned.
There was therefore a lot of discussion among the ANC on land reform policy, Nkwinti said.
He said the ANC had come up with four proposals to transform land ownership in South Africa without changing the Constitution.
One of them involved changing the land tenure system to allow privately-owned land, but limiting the extent of ownership.
The second suggestion was to lease land rather than sell it.
The third proposal related to controlling foreign land ownership through additional requirements and obligations for foreign investors.
Lastly, communal land should be made available to communities, but be protected. It would fall under a single title deed.
Last week, the ANC Youth League again called for the changing of the Constitution to do away with land expropriation with compensation.