Land expropriation is not a 'smash and grab': Ramaphosa

14 March 2018 - 17:08 By Thabo Mokone

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the police to clamp down illegal land occupations currently unfolding in Gauteng.

In his first oral questions session as President‚ Ramaphosa told MPs that the recently adopted parliamentary resolution on the expropriation of land without compensation was not a call for "a smash and grab" approach to the issue.

Ramaphosa said that while government would forge ahead with its decision to expropriate land without compensation‚ police should not sit idle while people resorted to "self-help measures”.

"This does not create an opportunity for self-help measures and smash and grab opportunities‚" he said. "The police must immediately ensure that those applying smash and grabs are arrested."

Ramaphosa had faced questions from DA leader Mmusi Maimane and Lulama Ntshayisa from the African Independent Congress‚ among others. Maimane wanted Ramaphosa to detail government's plans to implement expropriation of land without compensation‚ while Ntshayisa asked how the president intended to tackle reported land invasions in some parts of Gauteng.

Maimane's party - and others such as the Freedom Front Plus - have rejected land expropriation without compensation‚ saying it threatened property rights and would damage the economy.

However‚ Ramaphosa has dismissed they argument‚ saying the country needed address the issue of land reform and land redistribution after years of delaying the matter.

Ramaphosa cautioned parties against using the issue as a cheap electioneering tool‚ arguing the property clause in the constitution was actually designed for transformation purposes.

"This is an opportunity to assert the transformational intent of our Constitution. It is an opportunity to recognise that the property clause in the Bill of Rights is a mandate for radical transformation‚" said the President.

"The property clause was never constructed for the purpose of retaining existing property relations. It is a transformative instrument‚ constructed to facilitate the lawful transfer of land and property to South Africans who had been deprived of land through colonial and apartheid policies."

Ramaphosa said government planned to use expropriation of land without compensation to bring working class communities closer to their areas of work and to address the plight of labour tenants in farming communities.