Johannesburg - The ANC says it will not nationalise land in the country as that stance would dispossess black people who own property.
This was a comment of ANC national executive member (NEC) Ronald Lamola who was speaking at the ANC’s post-lekgotla media briefing, where the party resolved to go ahead and amend the Constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation.
“They (the people) are very clear that the land must be redistributed to the people, we are going to give them title deeds to that land. We are not nationalising the land in this country if we do that we are also going dispossess black people’s property. We cannot nationalise houses of people. We are going to use the expropriation act to transform the 72% of land still in the hands of white people,” said Lamola.
The call for the government to expropriate and nationalise land is the EFF’s stance on the land question, but the ANC disagrees with this view.
On Tuesday night President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on the party’s decision to amend the Constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation.
Ramaphosa’s announcement was similar to the ANC’s resolution taken at its national conference in December and another one at the party’s land summit held in May.
“Accordingly, the ANC will, through the parliamentary process, finalise a proposed amendment to the Constitution that outlines more clearly the conditions under which expropriation of land without compensation can be effected,” said Ramaphosa.
“The intention of this proposed amendment is to promote redress, advance economic development, increase agricultural production and food security.”
Ramaphosa’s announcement, which was repeated by ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, was widely criticised by some opposition parties as going against the Parliamentary Constitutional review process which is currently holding public hearings on amending the Constitution.
ANC NEC member Enoch Godongwana said the ANC's stance on amending the Constitution does not go against Parliament’s review process.
“We are not trying to undermine the Parliamentary process. As a political party, we will contribute to that process. We have not overrun the testing, the testing is part of the discussions we have taken in the ANC,” said Godongwana.
He said the process to test section 25 of the Constitution was still on the cards. Godongwana said the party had identified land that it will use as a test case.
The ANC will need a two-thirds majority in Parliament to amend the Constitution. The EFF had already offered the party its votes to help it reach the two-thirds needed to amend the Constitution.
The ANC supported the EFF’s motion in Parliament to change the Constitution to expropriate land without compensation.
However, the DA, which is the official opposition in Parliament, has spoken against the move to amend the Constitution. The party said it supports land reform, but it should include compensation.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said he has written to the National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to call a sitting of Parliament to discuss the ANC’s announcement on amending the Constitution.