Guest Column

Nothing new from Ramaphosa on land

2018-08-02 15:35
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (GCIS)

President Cyril Ramaphosa. (GCIS) (Siyabulela Duda)

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Aggrey Mahanjana

The hype from the public on the announcement by the President Cyril Ramaphosa that the ANC will pursue an amendment to the Constitution to enable land expropriation without compensation is a little strange since it is not the first time that the ANC has made this pronouncement. 

It was mentioned at the ANC policy conference in June 2017; it was part of the ANC resolutions at the 54th national conference of the party in Nasrec and Ramaphosa mentioned it again in his January 8th statement and during his State of the Nation Address in February 2018. 

Not only has the ANC made this announcement before, but other political parties like the EFF have made numerous similar statements. What may have caused the hype from the public is the timing of the re-pronouncement whilst the process of public consultation is still in progress. This may well be interpreted by some as a case of the ANC trying to influence the outcome of the public consultation process that the Parliamentary Review Committee is currently undertaking.

The truth is, President Ramaphosa is in a very serious predicament because he is wearing many hats. He is wearing the hat of being the president of the ANC and of being president of the country. As a business person by career he has an interest in the economic development of the country for the success of the business community in South Africa. 

He was also born in rural South Africa and understands the conditions people live in there and has the interests of those people in heart. He grew up in Soweto and therefore has the interests of township people at heart as well.

In this particular instance, he was making the announcement on land expropriation as the president of the ANC. Every political party is strategising for 2019 elections and the fact of the matter is the people who will put the ANC back into government are the people who are hungry for land – not the foreign investors and not the minority groups who currently own the land. This is why Ramaphosa finds himself in the dilemma that he is in. 

Whether he himself as a business person agrees or not with the policy matters less because for the sake of winning the support of his voters he has to make these pronouncements. People must understand the political game.

Whether the Constitution is amended to accommodate expropriation without compensation or not, the attention or the focus of the people must be on how this will be implemented; and under what circumstances. 

As NERPO we believe that expropriation will happen and must happen but the circumstances under which expropriation without compensation can take place are very limited. It simply won’t make a significant impact in fast tracking land redistribution in South Africa if it is for that purpose.

- Aggrey Mahanjana is the Group CEO of the National Emergent Red Meat Producers' Organisation (NERPO).

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

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