Presidency Cyril Ramaphosa tables the presidency budget during a debate in the National Assembly. Picture: GCIS

Parliament - Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane on Wednesday urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to hand state-owned land to citizens.

Maimane mooted the privatisation of state-owned land in this manner as an alternative to the expropriation of private land to alleviate what the government terms an urgent land crisis.

"Let's privatise government-owned land... At the stroke of a pen we can ensure that land is transferred to our people," he said in the debate on the presidency budget vote.

Maimane added that the protection of private property rights was the bedrock of the South African economy.

He urged Ramaphosa to be bold and to forge a new economic consensus to counter what he said was an increasing, dialectical return to race trenches.

"Today our 1994 consensus is no longer holding. More and more, people are retreating back into their corners of racial solidarity. And so we need to establish a new economic consensus that will lead us into a new era."

Failure to do so would "simply entrench the historical patterns of insiders versus outsiders".

Ramaphosa has vowed that his administration would push ahead with plans to amend section 25 of the Constitution to make explicit the circumstances in which land could be expropriated without compensation.

Maimane also reiterated his party's call for the country's troubled state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to be privatised.

"Then, once we have stabilised and privatised our SOEs, let us disburse shares in these companies to South Africans. Now suddenly we’re talking about household savings and pensions – something unheard of for most families until now." 

He added: "But none of these economic or societal reforms will be possible without bold leadership and the building of a building a capable, uncaptured state.

African News Agency (ANA)