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Vote in South Africa's parliament moves land reform closer

Vote in South Africa's parliament moves land reform closer

Postby smix » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:19 pm

Vote in South Africa's parliament moves land reform closer
Reuters

URL: https://af.reuters.com/article/africaTe ... B23N-OZATP
Category: Politics
Published: February 27, 2018

Description: CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa took a step on Tuesday to hasten the transfer of land from white to black owners when parliament backed a motion seeking to change the constitution to allow land expropriation without compensation. The ruling African National Congress has long promised reforms to redress racial disparities in land ownership and the subject remains highly emotive more than two decades after the end of apartheid. Whites still own most of South Africa’s land following centuries of brutal colonial dispossession. Tuesday’s motion was brought by the radical left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party but was supported by the ANC, which controls almost two-thirds of the parliament compared with EFF’s 6 percent. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said after his inauguration two weeks ago that he would speed up the transfer of land to black people although he stressed that food production and security must be preserved. Launching a debate on the motion in parliament, EFF leader Julius Malema said “it was time for justice” on the land issue. “We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land,” he said. The motion was passed by 241 votes in favour versus 83 votes against. Parliament then instructed a committee to review the constitution and report back to it by Aug. 30. It was not clear when any change to Section 25 of the constitution to allow expropriation of land without compensation would take place. Together, the ANC, EFF and other small opposition parties could muster the two-thirds majority needed for a constitutional change. The ANC supported the motion with some amendments. Its deputy chief whip, Dorries Dlakude, said the party “recognises that the current policy instruments, including the willing-buyer willing-seller policy and other provisions of section 25 of the constitution may be hindering effective land reform.”
EXPROPRIATION
The official opposition Democratic Alliance party (DA) opposed the motion, arguing that changes to Section 25 will undermine property rights and scare off potential investors. The DA’s Thandeka Mbabama told parliament that expropriation without compensation was a way to divert attention from the failure by successive ANC-led governments to get to grips with the issue. Corruption and lack of farmer training and capacity remain obstacles to land redistribution. “It is shocking that at the current rate it will take 35 years to finalise (land) restitution claims lodged before 1998,” said Mbabama, who is deputy shadow minister for rural development and land reform. In his first state of the nation address two weeks ago, Ramaphosa made a direct appeal to poorer black voters -- the core of the ANC’s electoral support base -- saying he would aim to speed up the transfer of land to black people as a general election looms in 2019. Ramaphosa said earlier on Tuesday he would pursue expropriation of land without compensation, but reiterated that this should be done in a way that increases agricultural production and improves food security. Among the main criticisms levelled at government’s land reform policy over the years has been that many farms transferred to emerging black farmers lay fallow and unproductive. Land expropriations would trigger legal challenges, said Ralph Mathekga, an independent political analyst. “This thing is going to court, make no mistake. The motion today means land has been elevated even higher as a political issue to code red from code amber,” he said.
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'We are not calling for the slaughter of white people - at least for now' ...

Postby smix » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:04 pm

'We are not calling for the slaughter of white people - at least for now': South African parliament votes to SEIZE white-owned land as experts warn of violent repercussions
Daily Mail

URL: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... -land.html
Category: Politics
Published: February 28, 2018

Description: White South African farmers will be removed from their land after a landslide vote in parliament. The country's constitution is now likely to be amended to allow for the confiscation of white-owned land without compensation, following a motion brought by radical Marxist opposition leader Julius Malema. It passed by 241 votes for to 83 against after a vote on Tuesday, and the policy was a key factor in new president Cyril Ramaphosa's platform after he took over from Jacob Zuma in February. Mr Malema said the time for 'reconciliation is over'. 'Now is the time for justice,' News24 reported. 'We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land.' Mr Malema has a long-standing commitment to land confiscation without compensation. In 2016 he told his supporters he was 'not calling for the slaughter of white people - at least for now'. A 2017 South African government audit found white people owned 72 per cent of farmland. Rural affairs minister for the ruling African National Congress party said 'The ANC unequivocally supports the principle of land expropriation without compensation'. 'There is no doubt about it, land shall be expropriated without compensation.' Freedom Front Plus party leader Pieter Groenewald said the decision to strip white farmers of their land would cause 'unforeseen consequences that is not in the interest of South Africa'. The deputy chief executive of civil rights group Afriforum said the motion was a violation of agreements made at the end of apartheid. 'This motion is based on a distorted image of the past,' Ernst Roets said. 'The term "expropriation without compensation" is a form of semantic fraud. It is nothing more than racist theft.' The ANC is increasingly under pressure to speed up land redistribution to help shore up its support among poorer black voters ahead of the election next year. Parliament ordered its constitutional committee to report back on the issue by August 30. Botched and often violent redistribution of land in neighbouring Zimbabwe under ex-leader Robert Mugabe left many farms in ruins, and the drop in production triggered an economic crisis that still haunts the country. White farmers control 73 percent of arable land compared with 85 percent when apartheid ended in 1994, according to a recent study. 'The time for reconciliation is over; now is the time for justice,' EFF leader Julius Malema told parliament. 'It is about our dignity. We do not seek revenge... all that our people ever wanted is their land to which their dignity is rooted and founded.'
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