‘South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said the ruling African National Congress must initiate a parliamentary process to enshrine in the constitution a proposed amendment, paving the way for land grabs without compensation.
Ramaphosa, who vowed to return the lands owned by the white farmers since the 1600s to the country’s black population after he assumed office in February this year, said on Tuesday that the ANC would introduce a constitutional amendment in parliament.
“The ANC will through the parliamentary process finalize the proposed amendment to the constitution that outlines more clearly the conditions under which expropriation of land without compensation can be effected,” Ramaphosa, a prominent trade union leader and a close associate of Nelson Mandela, said in a televised address on Tuesday.
The millionaire ex-businessman argued that “it has become pertinently clear that our people want the constitution to be more explicit” about the proposal, which is viewed by the South African white minority as forceful expulsion that can incite violence against farmers.
There have been growing fears that the planned expropriation will deal a blow to commercial farming in the country and might put it on the verge of a food production crisis, like the one that struck Zimbabwe when it unleashed a similar crackdown on white farmers in 1999-2000.
Promoting his plan to boost land redistribution in March, Ramaphosa sought to assure white citizens, who constitute roughly nine percent of the total population, that the government would handle the controversial matter through “dialog, discussion, engagement, until we find good solutions that take our country forward.”‘