Hold a referendum on land - Mahumapelo

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North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo. (Netwerk24)
North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo. (Netwerk24)

Johannesburg - North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo has called for a referendum on amending the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

"As a province, we are pushing for a referendum to amend some sections of the Constitution in the country; this matter of land must be given the right attention," Mahumapelo said.

He spoke to News24 on the side-lines of the African National Congress policy conference which is presently underway at Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg.

The land question has divided the ANC, with some, including President Jacob Zuma calling for an amendment to section 25 of the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation.

Zuma wanted the ANC to band with the Economic Freedom Fighters in Parliament for a two thirds majority to change the Constitution. But Mahumapelo said the process should not be left to Parliament because it would be challenged in the courts.

"If it has gone through the referendum, no-one can rush to court to challenge the amendment because it will have been closed; it would have been the final views of the South Africans."

Criticism

Mahumapelo, however, said land should only be expropriated when land owners refused to pay the price set by the state. One of his province's suggestions was that the state be allowed to set the price for a period of 20 years at a time.

"Don't start with land without compensation. We have the responsibility to heal the country," he added.

The ANC government has missed its own set goals on redistribution and has faced criticism that some of the land returned to owners lies fallow.

On Zuma, Mahumapelo labelled it a myth that the majority of South Africans wanted him to go.

"Why don't they say there must be a referendum so that the majority of SA through a legitimate, constitutional democratic process can indicate whether they want President Zuma to go or not, then we can settle it," Mahumapelo said.

He dismissed campaigns and marches calling for Zuma to go, saying it was not fair to use certain events organised by opposition parties or citizens as a gauge for how many South Africans wanted Zuma to resign.

He said the actions of tens of thousands of individuals could not be assumed to represent the views of 55 million South Africans.

"We can't rely on people on WhatsApp, Facebook and some newspapers and those protesting," he said.

ANC stalwart boycott

Zuma has faced criticism and calls for him to go from various sectors of society, including some close to him.

ANC stalwarts and veterans on Thursday stood by their position to boycott the first two days of the policy conference, wanting a separate, national consultative conference to be held in September.

The party has also been hit by declining electoral support and several scandals.

Zuma is facing his eighth motion of no confidence in Parliament after surviving two formal calls in the party's national executive committee for him to step down.

Tripartite alliance partners Cosatu, SACP and Sanco have also called for him to go.

Listen to our politics editor Mahlatse Gallens as she speaks to South Africa's sharpest political minds.

Listen on iTunes here.

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