Traditional leaders in talks with party on land ownership

The ownership of land and its transfer in rural areas under the control of traditional leaders is being addressed with their full participation, President Cyral Ramaphosa told delegates at the ANC’s 55th national elective conference in Nasrec, Johannesburg.

Delivering the political report, Ramaphosa said the party had made significant strides in addressing the issue of land reform, following a resolution at the ANC’s 54th conference to advance land expropriation without compensation.

The 2017 resolution resolved that expropriation of land without compensation should be among its key economic interventions. 

Ramaphosa said an essential part of building an inclusive economy was giving greater access to land for all those who work it and need it. 

In December last year, the ANC failed to get the two-thirds majority needed to pass a constitutional amendment that allows for land expropriation without compensation. The party needed 267 votes to pass the bill but only 204 MPs voted in favour of it and 145 against it. 

Ramaphosa said despite the ANC failing to amend section 25 of the constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation, the party continued to pursue alternatives to speed up the distribution of land to landless people.

He said through the presidential employment stimulus programme, more than 100,000 small-scale farmers were given sufficient equipment to do their farming.

He said the previous conference adopted a position that the acceleration of land was a key component of the party’s land reform programme.

”As the 54th national conference recognised, the pace of land reform has been too slow to meet the needs of the majority of citizens who remain landless… Despite the setback to our efforts to amend section 25 of the constitution, we continue to pursue all available options, including through legislation like the Expropriation Bill, to implement our 54th national conference resolution on land redistribution without compensation. There are a number of instruments we will use to drive meaningful land reform, not only to correct a historical injustice but to also use our land more effectively for economic growth and transformation,’’ he said.

Alongside the redistribution of land, Ramaphosa said government had prioritised agriculture and agro-processing as significant areas of potential growth and job creation.

”This includes support for emerging commercial farmers as well as small-scale farmers. The impact of the input vouchers provided to around 140,000 small-scale farmers to buy seeds, fertiliser and equipment as part of the presidential employment stimulus, shows the great potential for such targeted support,’’ said Ramaphosa.

He said since the advent of democracy more than four million hectares of land was transferred through restitution and over five million hectares through distribution, accounting for nearly 11% of commercial farmland. He added that this was far below the initial target of 30% by 2014.

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