DA leader Mmusi Maimane delivering his opening address at the DA’s federal congress held at the Tshwane Events Centre. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town - A proposal currently before Parliament to change the Constitution and enact legislation to expropriate land without compensation was a "terrible solution to poverty and exclusion", Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a Workers' Day event at a farm in Wellington, Maimane spoke in favour of schemes whereby workers in the Western Cape were given equity shares in farms.

"The workers benefitting from this scheme will go far because this is a project aimed at real, long-term empowerment of individuals. This is not about populist sound bytes. This is not EFF and ANC-style sloganeering around land expropriation without compensation," he said.

"This is not some quick-fix solution by national government where land beneficiaries are left on their own to either sink or swim. And, believe me, most of them sink – the ANC’s land reform projects have a staggering 90% failure rate."

Maimane said equity schemes have had a six out of ten success rate in the Western Cape, while 90 percent of government's land reform projects had failed.

"National government intends for land reform programmes to tick boxes and make up numbers. It’s about short cuts and quick fixes. As soon as the deal is done, the beneficiary is abandoned."

He defended voting against the proposal by the Economic Freedom Fighters to ensure expropriation without compensation becomes a reality.

"You see, by their model, all land will become the property of the state, and no individuals will own anything. This is what they don’t mention in their slogans. But they intend to take away everyone’s property, whether you’re black or white, and make everyone permanent tenants of the state," said Maimane.

"We voted against their plan because it is a terrible solution to poverty and exclusion. Land reform should be about both justice and economic opportunity. Expropriation without compensation will satisfy neither of these two conditions."

In February, the National Assembly gave the go-ahead for section 25 of the Constitution to be amended to give effect to government policy of expropriating land without compensation, but not before a heated debate which saw South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) and its biggest political foe, the EFF and some smaller parties speak in favour of the policy.

The resolution was eventually put to a vote with 241 voting in favour of amending property clauses in the Constitution, while 83 voted against.

African News Agency/ANA