South Africa is one step closer to implementing controversial land reforms through expropriation, after a key committee announced Thursday that it has adopted a recommendations report on amending the country’s constitution.
The Joint Constitutional Review Committee (JCRC) said the African National Congress, the Economic Freedom Fighters and the National Freedom Party all voted in favor of the report on Section 25 of the constitution. It deals with property rights and the rules for land expropriation, while a proposed amendment would make it possible to take land without compensation in the public interest.
“This has truly been a massive project. We have seen people queuing for long periods, just to make sure they have a say on the matter,” said Lewis Nzimande, an ANC member and co-chair of the JCRC. “The committee did not expect the volume of responses from the public it received. However, this is a reminder to all of us of the importance of land to all South Africans.”
MP and fellow co-chair Stan Maila of the ANC said it was clear that land reform must move forward. “There was total agreement that there was a need for urgent and accelerated land reform in order to address the injustices of the past, which were inflicted on the majority of South Africans,” he said. “The hunger for land amongst the dispossessed was clear.”
Black people own less than two percent of rural land and less than seven percent of urban land, according to an audit cited by the National Assembly in February. The ANC decision in February to accelerate the process has sparked bitter and often racial division, over what some call Zimbabwe-like “land grabs” and others see as restoration of rights.
Image: Parliament RSA