President Jacob Zuma is seen with Mathews Phosa and Kgalema Motlanthe at the opening of the party's national policy conference in Midrand on Tuesday, 26 June 2012. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

The plight of those without land must be addressed without changing the Constitution, ANC president Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.

“How do we correct the situation, properly, within the confines of the Constitution so that we do something that is legal, but address the plight of the poor,” he asked reporters at the ANC policy conference in Midrand.

“We have moved away from the time of suspicion, of not trusting. I think we have been together for almost 20 years.

“We know ... nobody is going to change the Constitution, we have a country that is running very well. Within that, how do we resolve the problems?”

Zuma said the real economy was still mainly in the hands of white males, and this needed to be addressed soon.

The willing buyer, willing seller principle of land redistribution had not worked, as it had raised the cost of land, he said. This could not be ignored and should be discussed at the policy conference. In its discussion document on land the ANC calls for a review of the principle, saying it had failed to ensure equitable distribution of land among all South Africans.

In the lead-up to the four-day event, there had been calls for a change to section 25 of the Constitution, which refers to property rights and sets out conditions for the expropriation of land with compensation. - Sapa