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‘ANC govt’s track record on land reform has been dismal’

Professor Ruth Hall says land reform in the country has instead moved backwards with mostly big companies benefitting from land ownership.

Professor Ruth Hall speaks at a public lecture on the current land debate in South Africa at the University of the Western Cape. Picture: @UWConline/Twitter

CAPE TOWN – The African National Congress (ANC) government’s track record on land reform over the last two decades has been dismal.

This is according to Professor Ruth Hall of the University of the Western Cape’s Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (Plaas).

Hall has made the remarks during a public lecture on the current land debate in South Africa.

The lecture comes soon after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement this week that the ANC will expropriate land without compensation.

Hall says the budget for land reform has never exceeded even 1% of the country’s budget.

She says land reform has instead moved backwards with mostly big companies benefitting from land ownership.

Hall says land reform has also been skewed against women.

“So even though in South Africa we tend to only look at race, I’m going to challenge you to think about these questions and ask questions about class and gender because remember that also only 23% of beneficiaries of land reform are women.”

Speakers have also questioned Ramaphosa’s announcement, saying it pre-empts Parliament’s joint constitutional review committee’s public hearings, which are still ongoing.

The institute's acting director Professor Moenieba Isaacs says: "Many have wondered since Tuesday if the ANC government knows what it’s doing because the Parliament constitutional review committee is currently in hearing into the land issue.”

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)