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WATCH VIDEO: Heated debate over land expropriation without compensation in Parliament

By Afikile Lugunya - Mar 15, 2018
WATCH VIDEO: Heated debate over land expropriation without compensation in Parliament

Responding to oral questions from Members of Parliament, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the consultations aimed at mapping out how land expropriation without compensation will work must be inclusive and handled in the most responsible manner.

Ramaphosa said this when he fielded questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday for the first time since he was sworn into the highest office in the land.

“It is critical that this is an inclusive process, in which all South Africans are actively involved in finding just, equitable and lasting solutions. It requires responsibility and maturity from all leaders.

“We should not pretend that there is anything revolutionary in encouraging people to illegally occupy land, nor should we resort to the kind of ‘swart gevaar’ [black danger] electioneering that some parties have resorted to. Let us engage in this debate as a nation.

“I invite all those who are angry, anxious, uncertain, excited and inspired to be part of finding a solution on this issue,” he said on Wednesday.

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, Mmusi Maimane, had asked the President what were the full details of government’s plan for land expropriation without compensation following his pronouncements during the State of the Nation Address in February.

“It is clear that countries, who have done that have seen investment go down, unemployment going up, life expectancy suffering - and that harms the very same poor people described by you Mr President,” Maimane said.

Ramaphosa responded; “Following this announcement, the National Assembly passed a ground-breaking resolution on this matter, opening up an opportunity for all South Africans to participate in this critical debate.

“This matter has been firmly placed on the national agenda and we applaud those who have come forward with views and proposal.

“This process of engagement presents an opportunity for a new, reinvigorated drive for meaningful and sustainable land reform. This is an opportunity to assert the transformational intent of our Constitution.”

President Ramaphosa said land is the centre of human existence and that land dispossessions had left a scar on indigenous population groups. He said the return of the land to those, who work it is fundamental to the transformation of society.

He added that while more than three million hectares of land was restored to communities between 1995 and 2014, the Land Audit Report indicates that whites still own around 72% of the farms owned by individuals, coloureds 15%, Indians 5% and Africans only 4%, the President said.

“It was also reported that males own 72% and female only 13%. We must, therefore, work with urgency to significantly and sustainably accelerate the pace of land reform. The expropriation of land without compensation is one of the mechanisms that government will use to do this.”

Watch the video below for the highlights of the Q&A session