South Africa’s parliamentary review committee has recommended that a constitutional change be made to accommodate the government’s policy of expropriating land without compensation.
The country’s ruling African National Congress (ANC), for its part, praised the committee for its “sterling work during and beyond the public hearing process”.
South Africa’s opposition parties, in turn, slammed the committee’s work as “a complete farce”, saying in a joint statement that the expropriation without compensation vote helps the government avoid “having to explain their rank failure over the past two decades to take land reform seriously.
It was echoed by South Africa’s largest agricultural union AgriSA, which called the parliamentary committee’s decision “unacceptable” and pledged that it would continue to oppose its implementation.
In early August, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the ANC is pushing ahead with plans to allow land expropriation without compensation.
He added that the ANC will “finalize a proposed amendment” to the constitution in a measure which he described as “critically important” to the country’s economy.
Although South Africa passed a law allowing land expropriation in 2016, Ramaphosa insisted that the constitution should be “more explicit” on the matter.
In a separate development in August, ANC chairman Gwede Mantashe warned that “you shouldn’t own more than 25,000 acres of land and if you own more, it should be taken without compensation.” The statement prompted a record number of white South African farmers to put their land up for sale.
In South Africa, 73 percent of agricultural estates still belong to white South Africans, who make up 10 percent of the country’s population.
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