Ramaphosa: Govt will push ahead with land expropriation without compensation

President 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.

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

CAPE TOWN – There has been a mixed reaction to President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement that government would push forward with expropriating land without compensation.

In his maiden State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Friday, the President touched on the issue of land redistribution, saying the government would consult various stakeholders 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 the agreement that it be done in a way that doesn't impact on food security, agriculture and other sectors of the economy.

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.”

The President says the government will consult on how to implement the resolution.

“We are determined that this process of restoring 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.”

Meanwhile, AgriSA says land expropriation without compensation is not IN line with the country's constitution.

Ramaphosa said decisive action will be taken this year, to tap into the economic potential within the agriculture sector and that the land redistribution programme would be accelerated to bring more producers into the sector as well as make more land available for cultivation.

The President has highlighted the role agriculture can play in stimulating the economy and creating jobs.

He says the sector made the biggest contribution towards economic growth in the second and third quarters of last year.

"This year, we will take decisive action to realize the enormous economic potential of agriculture."

AgriSA Executive Director, Omri van Zyl, however says land expropriation without compensation is not in line with economic growth principles.

"In AgriSA we have a land plan and a land strategy and I think in order to execute on the opportunities in agriculture, we can do a lot more than expropriate without compensation and change the Constitution. For us its generally well received, but we need to manage the expropriation story."

Ramaphosa has extended a call to financial institutions to partner with government in this venture.