Natasha Marrian Political editor: Business Day

The ANC will not nationalise land; it will be handing over title deeds so that the people own land, the party said on Tuesday.

The ANC decided at a two-day lekgotla to amend the Constitution to expropriate land without compensation. It resolved on expropriating land without compensation at its national conference in December and has been through an intensive process to decide whether it required an amendment the Constitution.

After its land summit in May, the ANC said it did not believe that the Constitution had to be amended to expropriate land without compensation. However, head of its economic development sub-committee Enoch Godongwana said it as clear that the majority of the people of the country want the Constitution amended.

The party realised this as it observed the hearings by Parliament’s constitutional review committee, which is on the brink of wrapping up its work.

"It is very clear our members … were supporting [an] amendment and we are clear land must be redistributed to the people," said NEC member Ronald Lamola. "It means we are going to take it and give it to people who are going to use it. We are going to give you title deeds. We are not nationalising the land of this country because if we do that we are going to dispossess a black farmer and black people who have houses. We can’t nationalise houses of people."

Lamola said the ANC wanted to transform land ownership because so much of the country’s land was owned by white people. "Seventy-two percent remains in the hands of white people. We are going to transform that 72%. You can call it land affirmative action."

The parliamentary process will continue but the ANC will make a submission on the decision it has taken on the amendment of the Constitution. The party dismissed questions over whether it’s radical step on land was motivated by the EFF dominating at the land hearings.

NEC member Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said land redistribution is a long-standing ANC policy and dates back to the freedom charter.