Constitution change on land 'not needed'

2011-11-09 08:26
Cape Town - The government has no need to change the Constitution to achieve its land reform targets, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Tuesday.

Motlanthe told Parliament's Press Gallery Association neither the willing buyer, willing seller principle, nor the property clause in the Constitution, stood in the way of expropriation where it was necessary.

"The law as it stands today allows government to expropriate land if it is in the public interest. So willing buyer, willing seller is not an obstacle."

Motlanthe went on to stress that the law obliged the state to demonstrate a clear case for expropriation.

"You can't deal with land by simply using percentages, we need to look at the purpose."

He appeared to contradict recent statements by Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Gugile Nkwinti that raised fears of a Constitution change.

The minister said in June the state was unable to reach its target of acquiring 30% of arable land to redistribute by 2014 "because of red tape" and the protection the Constitution affords private property ownership.

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