Zuma vows to fast track land expropriation without compensation

President Jacob Zuma. (Pic: Gallo Images)
President Jacob Zuma. (Pic: Gallo Images)

Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma said 2017 is the year of “taking land back to the people” and for this reason government will seek to change legislation to allow for land expropriation without compensation. 

Zuma spoke at the launch of Operation Phakisa on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development in Pretoria on Friday and said the country needs to take bold steps that will transform South Africa’s economy, including land ownership, swiftly. 

“[In order] to achieve all the goals mentioned in the State of the Nation Address government is busy amending all the laws and policies to enable faster land reform, including land expropriation without compensation as provided for in the constitution,” Zuma said. 

The president recently sent the Land Expropriation Bill back to Parliament for further consideration, in particular to enable more public participation.

READ: The new Expropriation Bill: transformative or troubling?

The Land Expropriation Bill was passed by Parliament in May last year – three months before the 2016 local government elections. 

In its current form, the bill requires the state to exhaust efforts to purchase property on reasonable terms in the open market before being allowed to consider expropriating it.

The ANC however has in recent months hardened its stance on economic transformation, calling for deracialising over-concentrated sectors of the economy and transferring ownership from white people to the black majority among other matters. At its annual birthday celebrations, the ANC said the economy will be overhauled radically to allow for meaningful black participation.

A month later, during his State of the Nation Address, Zuma repeated calls for radical economic transformation, saying government will enforce broader economic participation through new legislation to counter economic concentration in white hands. 

READ: Zuma sheds light on radical economic transformation

Zuma said on Friday South Africa must move beyond "business as usual". 

“We must seek new ways of doing things which will change the economic landscape in our country and ensure that the black majority shares in the wealth. Only then can we have true reconciliation and an expanded economic cake.” 

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