President Cyril Ramaphosa announced at SONA (State of the Nation Address) that “decisive action” will be taken this year to realise the enormous economic potential of agriculture in South Africa… and will include expropriation of land without compensation.
He said: “This year we will take decisive action to realise the enormous economic potential of agriculture. And as agriculture requires land, as agriculture needs land as a basic resource – we will accelerate our land redistribution programme – not only to redress a grave historic injustice, but also to bring more producers into the agricultural sector; and to make more land available to our people for cultivation.”
He said effective use of all mechanisms available will be made, and “guided by the resolutions of the 54th national conference of the governing party, this approach will include the expropriation of land without compensation.
“We are determined that this process of restoring land to our people should be implemented in a way that increases agricultural production, improves food security and ensures in the end that agriculture becomes a growing sector of our economy.”
Ramaphosa said Government will undertake a process to determine the modalities of the implementation of the redistribution.
The President made a “special call” on the financial institutions of South Africa to become the government’s partners in order to accelerate the land redistribution programme, which would require investment.
Agriculture, he said, is to be treated as a job creator and a “sunrise sector” of our economy. (He also said mining will become a sunrise rather than sunset sector.)
After hearing Ramaphosa’s speech, many observers have pointed out to those who reacted with anger, presuming land would be taken from successful existing farmers, that it’s likely the President is referring to unused or under-utilised government land and tribal trust land, which could be expropriated without compensation.
Many social media users, like Noluthando Makade, said “Cyril is not foolish” and it would be wrong to assume he is referring to commercial farmers’ land, which he would probably want to maintain as they contribute to the economy of the country. Eileen de Klerk added: “While you might not agree with the immediate effect, the goal is the future. You can’t want change and then not expect to adapt and change yourself…”
#Ramaphosa: We are determined that expropriation without compensation should be implemented in a way that increases agricultural production, improves food security and ensure that the land is returned to those from whom it was taken under colonialism and apartheid. #SONA2018
— ANC Parliament (@ANCParliament) February 16, 2018