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

President Cyril Ramaphosa said the ANC is gunning for expropriation without compensation because it wants to provide land to those who work it and need it, including young people and women.

However, according to a report released by researchers at the University of the Western Cape in December 2019, at least half those who obtained leases on farms are well-off black business men and that 80% of land reform beneficiaries are male.

Ramaphosa, who delivered his third January 8 statement at the Tafel Lager Park stadium in Kimberley on Saturday, said the struggle to return land to all the people of SA remains a “historical and economic imperative”.  “More than a century after its enactment, the Natives’ Land Act continues to define much of the landscape of our country,” said Ramaphosa.

“It is to address this persistent injustice, that we are proceeding with the im­plementation of an accelerated land reform programme – which includes the mechanism of expropriation without compensation – to provide land to those who work it and who need it, including young people and women.”

He said the government would focus on giving effective support to those who have acquired agricultural land, noting: “The return of the land will happen and it will be done in a manner that pro­motes economic growth and sustains food security.”

Ramaphosa appointed an advisory panel in September 2018 to inform government policy on land reform, in the wake of the ANC’s resolution during its national elective conference in 2017, to support land expropriation without compensation.

The advisory panel submitted its report to Cabinet in July 2019, which endorsed 63 of the panel’s 70 recommendations and noted three others.

Among others, the panel recommended that the government create a dedicated land-reform fund, and said that the starting point for redistribution had to entail serious engagement with the nature of demand: who wants what land, where and for what purposes.

The panel had also suggested dissolving the Ingonyama Trust, which was established in 1994 to be the custodian of land that was previously administered by the KwaZulu-Natal government. It comprises 29.67% of the land in the province.

King Goodwill Zwelithini, who is the sole trustee, said previously that anyone who touched the Ingonyama Trust would be declaring war on the Zulu nation.

Agriculture, land reform & rural development minister Thoko Didiza said in December that in its discussion, the Cabinet noted that some of the recommendations might require further work, and that further investigation would have to be undertaken.

On Saturday, Ramaphosa told ANC supporters that all legislative efforts to accelerate the return of the land to the people “will be done lawfully and in line with the provisions of the Constitution”.

“Land reform needs to be closely tied to integrated spatial development to en­sure that both rural and urban dwellers live in sustainable human settlements located close to economic opportunities and social infrastructure,” the president said.

Ramaphosa said the prolonged drought in several parts of the country, including the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape, Free State and Mpumalanga, has “severely affected communities, agricultural pro­duction and broader economic activity”. The government will promote sectors like manufacturing, tourism, agriculture and the oceans economy as major areas for employment growth, he said.

“We similarly need to act decisively to protect our scarce water resources, ensure that all have equitable access and respond to the devastating effects of successive droughts. Such action is essential to ensure the development of our economy and the realisation of the constitutional right of all South Africans to sufficient food and water.”

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