SOUTH African President Cyril Ramaphosa has insisted that his government will not allow “reckless land invasions” or expropriation of land without compensation.
Fielding questions in Parliament on Thursday, Ramaphosa indicated there was still a need to address land reform in the country, but forced takeover was not the option.
He said the government has so far released 14000 hectares of land to some citizens. This, he explained, is one measure to deal with land restitution and redistribution.
Parliament is also busy with the process to amend Section 25 of the Constitution which will allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.
He said the report compiled by the presidential panel on land reform was being processed by Cabinet.
Parliament’s Constitutional Review Committee between June and August last year travelled across the country where it hosted public hearings for the review of Section 25.
It is also hoped that the process will be wrapped up before March. Ramaphosa in the meantime says the process will continue to be rigorous and open to public scrutiny. He warned that the government will not allow land invasions.
“We are going to have a scope and ability to move on this. We will make sure land is returned to the people. As we have said before, we will not do it in a reckless manner,” Ramaphosa said.
He highlighted that the ANC’s 2017 Nasrec conference resolution on land was clear on steps to be taken in this matter.
During the question-and-answer session, Ramaphosa also addressed what he termed as the country’s dire economic status, saying the economy would have to grow at a faster pace to deal with the high unemployment rate.
Statistics SA released its latest figures this week and indicated that unemployment had peaked to 29.1%.
Ramaphosa acknowledged that the economy wasn’t improving.
He said there was an urgent need to cut debt and reduce spending. The government is faced with a spiralling debt of more than R3 trillion with huge debt service costs.
Ramaphosa indicated that debt service costs were now one of the largest budget expenditure items.
He said the government had implemented some reforms that would improve the economy. IOL