Johannesburg - Farmers union TLU SA has accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of implying farmers are land thieves and demanded that he provide proof.
Ramaphosa's governing African National Congress is pressing on with plans to amend the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation as part of reforms to redress the past when land was forcibly taken from blacks by white settlers.
During a land restitution ceremony at the weekend, Ramaphosa said his own family had gone through the pain of "being forcibly removed, our land stolen and taken away on two occasions".
"President Cyril Ramaphosa has of late ... repeatedly made allegations in public concerning land theft. With these allegations he insinuates that commercial farmers have stolen their land," TLU SA president Louis Meintjies said in a statement.
"According to South African law the onus rests on the person making the statement to prove it. Since the president of the country is not above the law, he should now also give evidence for his claims or be prepared to expect further action from our side. "
TLU SA is not part of the president's president’s advisory panel on land reform and says it is not representative of land and property owners in South Africa.
“We will not be bound or governed by any of the suggestions in the report,” Meintjies said.
TLU SA says its own proposals on land reforms in 2005 would have seen all targets reached within eight years of the normal economic process and no existing landowner’s property rights would have been in jeopardy.
African News Agency/ANA