Expropriation of land will be lawful, President Ramaphosa says

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo. / AFP
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo. / AFP

President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday said that the process of land expropriation without compensation would not undermine property rights nor lead to land grabs.

Ramaphosa said this after US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Wednesday warned that the plan to expropriate land without compensation would be "disastrous for the SA economy".

Speaking at the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Pompeo said SA was planning on expropriating private property, and that such a move had proven to be a dismal failure in other countries like Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

However, Ramaphosa said the government was drafting a new bill which will clarify the circumstances under which land may be expropriated without compensation. He said the process would be guided by the constitution, the rule of law and promised there would be no land grabs.

"This is just one of the mechanism that are available to government to effect redistribution, far from undermining property rights. These changes will broaden the property rights of all South Africans," Ramaphosa said in parliament yesterday.

The government is seeking to amend section 25 of the constitution to allow for land to be expropriated without compensation. This would be done in order to address the historic dispossession of land belonging to blacks by white people at the barrel of a gun, which, to date, still remains in their hands.

The EFF and SACP have lashed out at Pompeo, saying his comments were a senseless warning and an attack on the SA government's plan to achieve equitable land redistribution. EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo said his remarks sought to maintain US as the world's super economy.

"Pompeo's utterances are consistent with the imperialist logic that seeks to parent the world, so as to maintain its firm grip as a superpower that holds policy direction for all nations subservient to it," Pambo said. "It is legislation that will address the racist spatial planning of the country, as well as collapse the monopoly the white minority has over the agricultural and mineral economy."

SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo said this process would help end inequality, homelessness and hunger, which he said were principles of redress which is enshrined in the constitution. "South Africa is not a colony of the US or dominion of any type.

"It is an independent democratic Republic. The SACP rejects foreign interference with contempt. Our democratic national sovereignty is sacrosanct. We will defend it, as we fought against colonialism and apartheid."

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