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Ramaphosa: Govt to speed up land redistribution

The ANC adopted a resolution on the issue at its December conference.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the State of the Nation Address at the Parliament on 16 February 2018. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa says the government will expropriate land without compensation but has promised to consult over how this will be done.

The African National Congress (ANC) adopted a resolution on the issue at its December conference, but only after a heated debate and agreement that it be done in a way that doesn’t impact on food security, agriculture and other sectors of the economy.

Ramaphosa made the commitment during his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Friday.

Ramaphosa says the government will speed up land redistribution, not only to address a grave historical injustice but also to pave the way for new farmers and to increase the amount of land available for cultivation.

“Guided by the resolutions of the 54th national conference of the governing party, this approach will include the expropriation of land without compensation.”

Ramaphosa says the government will consult on how to implement the resolution.

“We are determined that this process of restoring the land to our people should be implemented in a way that increases agricultural production, that also improves food security and ensures, in the end, that agriculture becomes a growing sector of our economy.”

BOOSTING LOCAL INDUSTRY

Touching on investment, Ramaphosa says there’s been a change in attitude by international investors after months of turmoil and the government has noticed significant interest from overseas business.

He says the government will now concentrate on investment and boosting local industry to kickstart the economy.

In his first Sona, Ramaphosa focussed on fighting corruption, correcting problems at Sars and the NPA, free education, land redistribution and economic growth.

He says there will be new industrial hubs.

“Special economic zones remain important instruments that we will use to attract strategic foreign and domestic direct investment and also to build targeted industrial capabilities and establish new industrial hubs.”

But he says there must be transformation.

“We’ll improve our capacity to support black professionals and deal decisively with companies that resist transformation. We will use competition policy to open up the market to new black interests and invest in the development of leadership in our townships as well as rural areas.”

Ramaphosa says small business will also be supported.

“We want to be able to support start-ups so that those South Africans who are entrepreneurially driven should be able to get support from the government. We will reduce the regulatory barrier for small businesses.”

FREE EDUCATION

Turning to education, Ramaphosa told the House that the government was working on free education.

“Starting this year, free higher education and training will be available to first-year students from households that have a gross-combined annual income of R35,000.”
He says details will be announced next week.

“The Minister of Higher Education and Training [Buti Manamela] will lead the implementation of this policy, while the Minister of Finance [Malusi Gigaba] will clarify all aspect of the financing of this scheme during the Budget Speech next week.”

This follows a pledge made by former president Jacob Zuma late in 2017 for fully subsidised free higher education and training for the poor and working class over five years.

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