More drama at ANC policy conference over land

Johannesburg - There was yet another highly charged debate on land at the ANC’s policy conference at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, on Tuesday. 

Sources have told News24 that “rowdy” supporters of presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, mostly from KwaZulu-Natal, tried to prevent National Executive Committee member Mathole Motshekga from speaking. 

The group of delegates, in commission four on Tuesday, opposed Motshekga’s rejection of the proposal to amend the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation. 

A source told News24 that Motshekga labelled the proposal “irrational and reckless”. 

Motshekga is understood to have insisted that the Constitution states that any changes to it have to happen within the framework of the Constitution and the law.

“The group was unhappy with Motshekga’s rejection of their proposal, saying it smacked of racism and populism and he said calls for the amendment of section 25 of the Constitution were irrational and reckless,” the source said. 

News24 understands that Dlamini-Zuma was in the commission during the fracas and intervened. 

“Dlamini-Zuma defended his right to speak,” the source said. 

Divided over land

The ANC is divided over the expropriation of land without compensation, pushed through by President Jacob Zuma and his home province of KwaZulu-Natal.

In March, Zuma told the national house of traditional leaders that black parties in Parliament must come together to have the two-thirds majority needed to change the Constitution.

The North West ANC proposed a referendum on the matter instead of leaving it to Parliament to decide as it risked being challenged in the courts. 

North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo had told News24 on the sidelines of the conference that expropriation without compensation should only be an option if the landowner rejected the price set by the state. 

The Northern Cape ANC chairperson Zamani Saul had strongly opposed the suggestion, saying Section 25 of the Constitution gave government the powers to expropriate, but it had to do so “equitably and not arbitrarily” - a view Motshekga is believed to have backed in the commission.

Another source, who was in commission four of the eleven held, said those supporting expropriation argued that changing the Constitution would help the ANC win votes and upstage the Economic Freedom Fighters, who were campaigning on the expropriation ticket. 

On Monday, there was another heated exchange when supporters of Dlamini-Zuma confronted former ministers Derek Hanekom and Pravin Gordhan.

Read the article here: Sparks fly at heated ANC policy conference

Hanekom was forced to apologise during the debate after he labelled the review on land policy as "nonsense", leading to delegates demanding that he face a disciplinary inquiry. Gordhan was accused of being a defender of white monopoly capital. 

The conference ends on Wednesday with Zuma giving the closing address.

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