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'Land reform fundamental to easing poverty stemming from past racial injustice'

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the economy remains largely characterised by the structural flaws of a racist and patriarchal past.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses 20th African Renaissance Conference at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: GCIS.

DURBAN - President Cyril Ramaphosa says one of the ways to change the economic architecture of the country will be through the policy of radical economic transformation.

Ramaphosa was speaking at the 20th edition of the African Renaissance Festival at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban on Thursday morning.

The president says the economy remains largely characterised by the structural flaws of a racist and patriarchal past.

He says resources in the country must urgently benefit all.

“Land was utilised in a way as to advance the interest of a minority. Where do you find situations where 87% of the land of a country is just set aside, less than even 10% of the population?”

SETTLING LAND QUESTION

Ramaphosa says the government will not waver in its determination to settle the land question, once and for all.

He says land reform is fundamental to easing the crippling poverty that stems from past racial injustice and that endures to the present day.

Ramaphosa says reconciliation and nation-building aren’t possible until this reality is recognised.

He was responding to debate on his Presidency budget vote in Parliament on Thursday afternoon.

The president has tackled criticism from both the Democratic Alliance that expropriation without compensation threatens entrenched property rights and the Economic Freedom Fighters, who believe the government’s commitment to land reform is wishy-washy.

“We need to unlock the economic potential of this country’s land. If ownership, tenure and use of this country’s land remain restricted to a small minority, we will never realise the contribution it can make to the growth and development of our economy.”

Ramaphosa says land reform is key to reconciliation, to forging national unity and to breaking the cycle of poverty.

“That is why we will not relent in our determination to use – yes – expropriation without compensation as one of the mechanisms to effect land reform.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)