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Cape Town - The Economic Freedom Fighters on Wednesday said it was vindicated by President Cyril Ramaphosa's commitment to changing the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation but said the ANC should go further to effect state custodianship of all land.

The issue of how to transfer large tracts of prime agricultural land owned by the white minority to millions of blacks from whose ancestors it was wrested by settlers centuries ago has become central ahead of elections next year.

On Tuesday evening Ramaphosa said the ANC would finalise a proposal to amend section 25 of the Constitution to outline "the conditions under which expropriation of land without compensation can be effected".

The far-left EFF said it was because of its insistence that the Constitutional review committee set up to handle the issue hold public hearings, that the ANC had abandoned any notion that expropriation without compensation could be carried out without amending the Constitution.

"The resolute submissions of the people on the ground and in all the public hearings exposed the ANC to the fact that an absolute majority of black people agree with the EFF’s steadfast and consistent position that the Constitution should be amended to allow for expropriation of Land without compensation," the party said. 

"Were it not for the EFF’s motion that the Constitutional Review Committee should conduct public hearings, the ANC elite, like they did in the land summit, would still be swimming in the confusion that expropriation without compensation can happen without changing the Constitution."

It said the ANC government was, in its view, confused on the State's role in ensuring historical redress on land ownership, and that if the EFF were to come to power land would be redistributed in line with the country's racial demographics.

"The ANC is still swimming in confusion on the question of State custodianship of all South Africa’s land. We however believe that like they did with the amendment of the Constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation, the ANC will subsequently appreciate the value and unavoidable necessity of having the state as custodian of all South Africa’s land," said the EFF.

"With the EFF at the forefront, all South Africa’s land with be returned to its rightful owners, and the settlers and their descendants will be allocated proportional to population size in South Africa."

The leader of the official opposition Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane, accused Ramaphosa of jumping the gun given the number of submissions the review committee still had to process and called for an urgent parliamentary debate on the issue. 

The right-wing Afrikanerbond, previously known as the Broederbond, a secret society of white Afrikaans men, said Ramaphosa's statement was a sign that he was bringing the ANC into political alignment with Julius Malema's EFF, and that this sounded the death knell for the Constitution.

"What has become clear with the announcement, is that the ANC has begun an irreversible process of political realignment to bring Mr Malema and the EFF on board," it said.

"This sends a message to every South African that no safeguard and guarantee in the Constitution is secure anymore because political expedience is more important than constitutional rights and values. The first constitutional right to be swept aside is property rights."

The move also marked a watershed moment dividing those who respected and promoted the Constitution and those who put greater stake on the "outdated values and ideals" of the Freedom Charter, the Afrikanerbond added.

"This new patriotic and democratic front in support of the Constitution has no choice but to cross old and established political lines to promote the South Africa that was foreseen and established in 1994," it said, referring to the year the ANC came to power with the fall of white apartheid rule.

"This must include parliamentary and extra-parliamentary institutions. Unfortunately, the ANC can no longer be part of the ideal."

African News Agency/ANA