Where do political parties stand on the land question - and why?

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa.
ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: Alon Skuy

The call for land expropriation without compensation has been received with mixed emotions by South Africans, its political parties and other interested groups, such as AfriForum.

So, which South African political parties are in support of amending section 25 of the constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation and which are  not?

Section 25(2)(a) read with section 25(3) of the Constitution reads:

Property may be expropriated only in terms of law of general application

- (a) for a public purpose or in the public interest; and (3) The amount of the compensation and the time and manner of payment must be just and equitable, reflecting an equitable balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected, having regard to all relevant circumstances.

The African National Congress (ANC) supports land expropriation without compensation.

Its leader, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced that they would, through parliament, propose an amendment to section 25 of the constitution to "clearly" detail how expropriation without compensation can be effected.

He said that this would be done to "promote redress, advance economic development, increase agricultural production and food security".

The ANC wants the people to own the land through title deeds. He said in parliament that by giving people full ownership, they will address a lot of issues including the difficulty in getting loans.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) supports land expropriation without compensation.

Leader of the EFF Julius Malema.
Leader of the EFF Julius Malema.
Image: Alaister Russell

However, the EFF wants the land to be wholly owned by the government. They believe that title deeds should not be given to individuals but that land must be leased.

"In the EFF we believe that the state must own the whole land‚ including Hout Bay and Camps Bay because this thing of title Mr President is a set-up.

"They want you to give our people title deeds‚ knowing very well that our people are poor‚ they will sell the land back to them…do you agree that the state must be the owner of the land?" Malema asked Ramaphosa in parliament.

The EFF wants a South Africa where people who want to use land apply for land-use licenses which should only be granted when the applicant has a purpose for the said land.

The current occupants of land will not be thrown out but should apply for licensing in order to continue using it. The land-use licenses will only be valid for 25 years.

Democratic Alliance (DA) does not support the amendment of the constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane.
Image: ALON SKUY

Their stance is that section 25 of the constitution is fine and suggest that ways to effect land reform is for the government to release urban land in their ownership and build housing for the people.

The DA said that they did not support land expropriation without compensation.

They said, in a statement issued by its leader Mmusi Maimane on March 18 2018, that the party supports land restitution and redistribution and the efforts to "undo the terrible legacy of forced land dispossession which still reverberates in our society".

The DA believes that expropriation without compensation would eventually rid all South Africans of rights to property ownership and went, through its leader, as far as to label expropriation without compensation a state sanctioned theft "inimical to economic development".

"We reject outright the suggestion that people cannot own property or should be permanent tenants of an all-powerful state," said Maimane.

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) wants land to be expropriated.

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER

However, they want current owners of such land to be paid before it’s taken out of their hands.

Its leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, said that expropriation without compensation would scare off investors.

“… if I were businessman from England, Europe or America I would not invest my money in a country that does not compensate landowners. Only an insane businessperson would invest here,” said Buthelezi addressing his supporters at a Human Rights Day event in uMlazi, Durban.

IFP also slammed the ANC for announcing its intention to propose an amendment to the constitution before the conclusion of the land hearings.

Labelling ANC’s announcement as a slap in the face of parliament and South Africa, IFP said that the ruling party has little respect for parliamentary process.

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) support land reform but with compensation.

ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe chats with the ANC's Gwede Mantashe chats with at IEC's results centre in Pretoria.
ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe chats with the ANC's Gwede Mantashe chats with at IEC's results centre in Pretoria.
Image: SYDNEY SESHIBEDI/THE TIMES

In a statement released in June 2018, ACDP said that it did not support any amendment to the constitution that would allow for land expropriation without compensation.

Its leader Kenneth Meshoe said that expropriation without compensation was a forced takeover of land “which involves paying evil with evil”.

He said: “… two wrongs do not make a right. The fact that the apartheid government forcefully dispossessed black people of their land does not justify the democratic government repeating the same evil”.

 

Freedom Front Plus does not support expropriation without compensation.

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald.
Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald.
Image: Trevor Samson / Business Day

It has has labelled pronouncements on land expropriation without compensation by political parties like the ANC and EFF as “irresponsible” and “divisive”.

Its leader Pieter Groenewald said that the land issue was emotional and if not handled with caution may cause “unforeseen consequences”.FF Plus said land expropriation without compensation will not accelerate land reform process and that farm owners “will not volunteer from their land”.

 

Congress of the People (Cope) does not support land expropriation without compensation and have vowed to “mobilise South Africans to correctly prepare them to defend the Constitution”.

“This Constitution says we are all South Africans. Who will you take the land from whom‚ and to whom will you give it?," Cope leader Mosioua Lekota asked President Cyril Ramaphosa during the state of the nation address debate in parliament.

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