Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS
Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

While US President Donald Trump took to twitter  to wade into SA’s land debate, Cyril Ramaphosa took to the Financial Times to outline the ANC’s position on the issue.

In an article published on the FT website  on Thursday morning, the South African president writes: "Among the greatest obstacles to growth is the severe inequality between black and white South Africans. For the South African economy to reach its full potential, it is therefore necessary to significantly narrow gaps in income, skills, assets and opportunities."

Land ownership is one of the areas where this disparity is most devastating, he writes, citing the World Bank listing it as the second-biggest obstacle to fighting poverty, after skills.

He explains the ANC’s position on changing the constitution to enable expropriation without compensation, saying that while the constitution doesn’t currently prohibit it, "the ANC’s view is that an amendment would provide certainty and clarity".

He emphasises that the amendment "would need to reinforce the fundamental principles of the property clause", including the prohibition on "the arbitrary deprivation of property", and outlines some instances where expropriation without compensation might be justified: "unused land, derelict buildings, purely speculative land holdings, or circumstances where occupiers have strong historical rights and title holders do not occupy or use their land, such as labour tenancy, informal settlements and abandoned inner-city buildings".

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