‘We will be returning land in a massive way’: Ramaphosa

14 October 2018 - 14:04 By Jeff Wicks
President Cyril Ramaphosa facilitated the handing over of more than 4,000 hectares of land in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday.
President Cyril Ramaphosa facilitated the handing over of more than 4,000 hectares of land in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday.
Image: Jeff Wicks

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the government is commencing a “massive” programme to redistribute land.

The president on Sunday facilitated the handover of 4‚586 hectares of land to the community of KwaMkhwanazi near Empangeni - the culmination of a successful land claim.

“We are commencing a rolling mass land distribution programme in our country. We will be returning land in a massive way. This Mkhwanazi land is the first‚” he said.

“Today we are making history‚ celebrating the return of the land to our people in this area‚” Ramaphosa added.

The president facilitated the handover of 4,586 hectares of land to the community of KwaMkhwanazi near Empangeni - the culmination of a successful land claim.

The community had been dispossessed of land in several phases - the first after the conclusion of World War 1 and the second in the 1940s when white farmers expanded their commercial cane and timber operations.

Moves to fast-track the expropriation of land without compensation have dominated the national narrative.

The ANC announced its support for a constitutional amendment to expropriate land without compensation.

Ramaphosa said that the ANC had been formed in 1912 with a view to resist land dispossession‚ a principle which had remained a core pillar of the party. 

“Right now our government is fully empowered to deal with the land question and we will move forward with great speed and determination to address the land challenge.

“This comes at a time when the attention of our nation is focused on the correction of the original sin of land dispossession. We will admit that over a number of years we have been rather slow and tardy and the process has been delayed by a number of reasons. What we are doing today should have been done a number of years ago‚” he said.

He lauded the “orderly” manner in which the claim was lodged and settled‚ albeit over time. 1‚656 claimants will now regain ownership of ancestral land.

The community will receive title deeds‚ post-settlement packages and other support to harness the potential of the land. “We are now righting the wrongs of the past and returning land to its rightful owners. Today their dignity and basic humanity is restored‚” Ramaphosa said.

X