The South African government will continue to pursue land expropriation without compensation until land is returned to those who were forced to be deprived of it, Deputy President David Mabuza said Tuesday.
Land expropriation without compensation will not stop because of opposition, Mabuza said while answering questions in Parliament. However, this must be done within the confines of the Constitution and the rule of law so as to avoid illegal land invasion, he said. Mabuza rejected claims that land expropriation without compensation will negatively impact the economy. Land reform will be used to enhance the agriculture sector, he said.
“On a daily basis, we are engaging farmers and encouraging them to donate land for redistribution,” Mabuza said, adding that some business leaders in the mining sectors have donated land as their contribution to the land reform program. “As government, we are relieving land that is in the hands of the state in order to advance the objectives of land reform,” he added. He urged those who are against expropriation of land without compensation to desist from dividing South Africans along racial lines.
Opponents to land reform argue that the process will drive away white farmers, threaten food security and negatively impact the economy. But the government has repeatedly assured that it will promote the land reform without destabilizing the agricultural sector, endangering food security in the country, or undermining economic growth and job creation. About 25 years after the end of apartheid, the minority whites still own most of the land in South Africa.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has been under fire for the lack of political will to address the land issue. Since taking power in February 2018, President Cyril Ramaphosa has been trumpeting land expropriation without compensation, drawing ire from opponents at home and abroad. Amid mounting concern, Parliament has given the green light to amending section 25 of the Constitution to pave way for land expropriation without compensation.A bill is expected to be introduced to legalize the process following a parliamentary debate later this year.