President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Bheki Radebe/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance said a resolution by African National Congress announced late on Tuesday by President Cyril Ramaphosa to amend the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation was irresponsible.

The DA said successful land reform did not require amending the Constitution, but rather eradicating corruption and ensuring economic certainty, which it said the ANC had failed to implement.

"In countries where such reckless and populist policies have been implemented, their economies have suffered, and unemployment and poverty has skyrocketed," the  party said.

"It appears the ANC is desperate to follow suit, and see our economy face another credit rating downgrade."

Ramaphosa made the announcement hours after the national statistics agency said unemployment had risen to 27.2 percent of the labour force.

"It is quite remarkable that on a day that has seen unemployment rise again to levels of a humanitarian crisis ... the ANC has decided to ramp up its efforts to undermine economic growth and job creation and play Russian roulette with the economic future of SA," said the DA.

It vowed to oppose the move in Parliament "with all our might", saying it backed land reform that made South Africans owners and participants in a growing, thriving economy.

In his televised announcement on Tuesday night, Ramaphosa said ongoing public hearings by a joint constitutional review committee of Parliament had made it clear that South Africans wanted the Constitution to be more "explicit" about the expropriation of land by the State in the public interest without compensation.

"The ANC lekgotla reaffirmed its position that a comprehensive land reform programme that enables equitable access to land will unlock economic growth by bringing more land in South Africa to full use and enable the productive participation of million more South Africans in the economy," he said.

African News Agency/ANA