Ramaphosa on burning issue of land: There will be no land grabs, theft

President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Covenant Fellowship Church International in eSikhaleni in KwaZulu-Natal. (ANC via Twitter)
President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Covenant Fellowship Church International in eSikhaleni in KwaZulu-Natal. (ANC via Twitter)

The land will be returned to people within the confines of the law, said President Cyril Ramaphosa during a Good Friday sermon, while also calling on landowners to share the land.

Ramaphosa touched on the burning issue of land expropriation without compensation at the Covenant Fellowship Church International in eSikhaleni in KwaZulu-Natal.

"We are going to return the land to our people so that our people can have their birth right," he said, adding that it must be done "within the confines of the law".

Parliament passed a motion to amend the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

Regaining wealth through land

Ramaphosa said the growth of South Africa's economy resides in the land and he encouraged landowners to share the land.

"To those who still hold land - we are passing on a very powerful message that Freedom Charter says - the land must be shared by all the people of our country," said Ramaphosa.  

"We are not going to steal and grab land," he said. "We are going to want to put the land to best use so our people can regain their wealth."

Conditions for expropriation without compensation

The EFF wants the state to own all land and is explicit that section 25 of the Constitution must be amended.

The section currently only allows for expropriation in the public interest subject to compensation that can be agreed to by affected parties or approved by a court of law. The proposal would also see black people stripped of their title deeds.

The EFF put forward the motion for a constitutional amendment before Parliament and it was approved, however, with an ANC amendment that sent the matter to a Joint Constitutional Review Committee process that will include public consultation. The committee has an August deadline to finalise the process.

The party had offered the ANC its 6% representation in Parliament to give it a two-thirds majority to allow for the Constitution to be amended.

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