No one should be nervous over land expropriation, says Ramaphosa

15 January 2018 - 07:30 By Antony Sguazzin
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.

South Africans shouldn’t be nervous about the African National Congress’s decision to seek land expropriation without compensation, party president Cyril Ramaphosa said.

“Land is a very broad, as well as a complex issue and it has to be handled very delicately because around land there is quite a lot of emotion,” Ramaphosa said in an interview broadcast Sunday on eNCA. “We will have a workshop or a conference on land and look at all its various aspects and beyond that we will come up with a clear policy, or direction on how this will be handled.”

The ANC decided at its conference in December that it would propose amendments to the Constitution to seize land without compensation to speed up the process of giving black people more land after the were disposed during white rule. The party said this will only be done in a manner that doesn’t harm the economy, agricultural production or food security.

White farmers own almost three-quarters of South Africa’s agricultural land, according to a land audit by farm lobbying group Agri SA published last year. The amount of land held by the government and racial groups who were disadvantaged under white-minority rule rose to 26.7% of South Africa’s agricultural land in 2016, from 14.9% in 1994, according to the audit.

Ramaphosa said he would like a study of farms that have been reclaimed or redistributed to black South Africans since 1994.

“The real issue, though, is that most of the redistributed land is lying derelict at the moment,” he said. “It’s not being worked.”

- Bloomberg