An explainer: South Africa sets path to seize white farmers land

  • An explainer: South Africa sets path to seize white farmers land
    FarmIreland.t. E.
    The ruling African national Congress of South Africa (ANC) is pushing ahead with plans to change the Constitution to allow expropriation of land without compensation.

  • Email

The ruling African national Congress of South Africa (ANC) is pushing ahead with plans to change the Constitution to allow expropriation of land without compensation.

President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement late on Tuesday in a televised address to the nation, stressing the political significance of the move.

Next, we will examine some of the issues associated with the emotional issue of land in most developed countries of Africa economy.

Section 25

Some lawyers argue, there is no need to amend the Constitution, because article 25 States that if the land is taken up with the owner of the property, “compensation … shall be fair.”

For some, “fair and equitable” can mean no compensation, depending on the circumstances in which the previous tenants or the owners were denied or removed from the land, either in English colonial times or in the days of apartheid.

Referring to the recent public hearing, said Ramaphosa South Africans wanted the Constitution to make clear when the payment was or was not justified.


South Africa has a history of colonial conquest and dispossession that pushed the black majority in overcrowded urban settlements and rural reserves.

The law About native lands of 1913 made it illegal for Africans to acquire land outside these reserves, which became known as the “Homeland.”

See Also

Although black residents account for 80% of the population of South Africa, former homeland amounted to only 13% of the land. Traditional leaders that observed for the Homeland is significant impact.

Estimates vary, but the consensus is that the majority of the private land remains in white hands, making it a powerful symbol of the broader economic and unequal distribution of wealth that remain two decades after the end of the reign of the white minority.


After the end of apartheid in 1994 the ANC was a “willing-seller, willing-buyer” model, in which the government buys farms owned by whites for redistribution to the blacks. Progress has been slow.

Based on the survey the title, the government says that blacks four percent of private land, and only eight percent of acreage was transferred to black hands, well short of the target of 30 percent, which was achieved in 2014.

Of agrisa, farm industry group says 27 percent of farmland in black hands. It includes the state lands and plots cultivated the land of the black peasants in the old country.

Critics argue that many of the farms transferred to new black farmers have failed for lack of state support, adoption Ramaphosa considered on Tuesday.

“The ANC also requested the government to urgently begin to implement programs to support farmers in depressed areas before the first rains this year,” he said.


The 17 million people who live in the former homeland, a third of the population, mainly farmers, working tiny plots of community land.

Critics of the land policy, the ANC says is the seizure of land from white, such families should be given the title, turning millions into owners. Reformers in the ANC declared its support for such a policy.

Former President Kgalema Motlanthe, who led the group to investigate land issues described traditional leaders as “dictators of the underdeveloped village”.

Tribal leaders were not happy, and warned the ANC in July to exclude the territories under their control from its land reform. The Zulu king called the Anglo-Zulu war and risk of conflict on this issue.


Markets and investors are wary because of fears about the broader threats to property rights. The Rand fell sharply and government bonds weakened after the announcement Ramaphosa.

Analysts say that South Africa is unlikely to follow the route of Zimbabwe, where the chaotic and violent seizure of farms owned by whites under ex-President Robert Mugabe has caused economic collapse.

Ramaphosa repeatedly said that the policy will be implemented in such a way that doesn’t threaten food security and economic growth. Officials of the ANC said that unused land will be the main target.

After all the risks are substantial. South Africa feeds itself and is the continent’s largest maize producer and second largest exporter of citrus.

Agriculture accounts for less than three percent of national output, but uses 850 000 people, five per cent of the workforce. Threats to production also fan food inflation hurts low-income.


Analysts say that the ANC wants to appeal to poor black voters, the core support of the ANC ahead of the elections next year.

This step also cuts on the platform of the ultra-left Economic Freedom fighters party (eff), led by firebrand Julius Malema, who made the alienation of land without compensation for his call.

The ANC is expected to adjust its proposal and then take it to Parliament where a two-thirds majority of votes necessary to change the Constitution. Along with eff, he has more than enough votes in the 400-seat Parliament, to implement the change.

Online Business Classes