File picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS.
File picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS.

Ramaphosa clarifies land reform to foreign envoys

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Sep 14, 2018

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PRETORIA - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday held a summit with diplomats accredited to Pretoria, where he explained the ongoing emotional deliberations in the country around land redistribution.

"South Africa has embarked on the redistribution of land process which has attracted a lot of attention in our country and beyond. The reform process will be undertaken in an orderly manner that advances economic development, increases agricultural production and food security, and provides well-located housing for the poor," he told a packed auditorium at the department of international relations and cooperation.

"Parliament is currently engaged in a process of considering whether Section 25 of the Constitution needs to be amended to allow for expropriation of land without compensation. This is one of a series of measures that we are undertaking to accelerate land reform to correct a historical injustice and unlock the economic potential of this valuable resource."

Likening the extensive ongoing consultation processes on the mooted land reform programme to the 1994 Constitution drafting process, Ramaphosa said the final piece of legislation on land redistribution in South Africa will be representative.

"As South Africa gets to grip with this historical injustice that was committed during the years of colonialism and apartheid misrule, we will seek to ensure that, as we did in 1994 when we crafted our Constitution, we will take into account the interests of all the people of our beloved land," he said.

"This process is aimed at advancing economic development in our country. It is specifically aimed at, when it comes to agricultural land, increasing agricultural production, ensuring that there is food security in our country, but on an overall basis we want to use this as a process that is going to enhance the growth of our economy."

The president said just like in the Constitution-making process, South Africans have added their input in to the debates and processes.

"When we drafted our Constitution, we had well over 1. 2 million inputs from South Africans who feverishly participated in the drafting of their birth certificate, their Constitution. This time around, we have had almost 700,000 submissions from people participating from the length and breadth of the country. This, in many ways, represents the South African DNA. A DNA that says whenever there are important issues that affects the live of the nation, South Africa will go talking," said Ramaphosa.

"On this issue as well, I am convinced that that is precisely what is going to happen. We will be able to build our own consensus, as a nation, as we did in 1994 under the able leadership of none other than [former president] Nelson Mandela. We will find a solution to this, as we did when we addressed what the world thought was an intractable problem in terms of addressing the apartheid nightmare."

Ramaphosa assured the diplomats that "a solution will be found soon, and it will be a South African-made solution".

He said one of the key problems bedeviling South Africa at the moment is low economic growth and rising prices that are having an adverse impact on millions of South Africans. 

"Government is addressing this challenge, together with our social partners - business, labour, communities."

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African News Agency (ANA)

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