South African President Ramaphosa receives report on land reform

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday received a report from the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture.

The panel was formed in September 2018 “to review, research and suggest models for government to implement a fair and equitable land reform process that redresses the injustices of the past, increases agricultural output, promotes economic growth and protects food security.”

“This report is an important step forward in our quest to right the original sin by developing solutions which are not only uniquely South African but most importantly, build a society in which all may share in the wealth of our land,” President Ramaphosa said after receiving the report.

South Africa’s parliament in December voted to adopt a report by the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) that recommends constitutional amendments to allow expropriation of land without compensation.

The National Assembly had in February 2018 formed the CRC in collaboration with the National Council of Provinces (NCP) to review section 25 of the Constitution and other clauses where necessary, to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation.

The land expropriation without compensation debate has been a major talk in South Africa for years, with fiery EFF President Julius Malema calling for its implementation to address racial disparities in ownership that persist more than two decades after apartheid’s demise in 1994.

The country’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) opposed the plan, arguing that it would jeopardize property right and scare off investors.

The South African government has in the past been condemned for its plan to expropriate land without compensation, including by US President Donald Trump.

With threats of consequences, President Ramaphosa in September said no country would impose sanctions on his country over the government’s plans to redistribute land to address racial disparities in ownership.

The report handed to the president on Tuesday will first be tabled to Cabinet before being released publicly.

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