President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Parliament - President Cyril Ramaphosa says the government will first expropriate state-owned land, before considering private-owned land.

Ramaphosa was responding to questions on land and job creation in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Ramaphosa said: “Our people are in need of land where they can build homes, farms and build facilities for various amenities. A number of these places are in urban areas. The Lekgotla of our government decided that we should embark on a rapid release of land”.

Ramaphosa said government would embark on a “rapid release” of land, starting with state owned land that is closer to urban areas.

“We will start with land that is owned by our various entities.Local government owns larger hectares of land in urban areas. We want that land to be released so that it can be given to our people.

“Some of the land is owned by state-owned enterprises, some is owned by various government departments, those pieces of land must be identified and released to our people,” said Ramaphosa.

Parliament's Constitutional Review committee was instructed by the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces to ascertain whether it was necessary to amend Section 25 of the Constitution.

Ramaphosa has however assured the country that expropriation of land will be a peaceful process.

“There is land owned by individuals, some of it is held for speculative reasons with some just lying fallow. Our local government should examine all land and we will make a decision on how to deal with that land.

“It will be dealt with in an orderly fashion, in accordance with our constitution and with conviction. We will embark on a positive process of ensuring that we make true the promises that we made to our people,” said Ramaphosa.

He lamented that apartheid spatial plannings in urban areas will be fundamentally changed, to allow every South African to live closer to economic opportunities.

“It is unacceptable that the working class and poor, who are overwhelmingly black, are located far from work opportunities and amenities.

“The progressive transformation of our urban spaces is not just about radically addressing social poverty and racial inequities. We must make our cities generators of wealth and reservoirs of productivity,” said Ramaphosa.

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