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Ramaphosa moves to assuage land grab fears

“Land is a very broad, as well as a complex, issue and it has to be handled very delicately because around land there is quite a lot of emotion,” Ramaphosa said in an interview with eNCA.

“We will have a workshop or a conference on land and look at all its various aspects and beyond that we will come up with a clear policy, or direction on how this will be handled.”

The ANC decided at its conference in December that it would propose amendments to the constitution to seize land without compensation to speed up the process of giving black people more land that they were stripped of during white rule.

The governing party said this would only be done in a manner that did not harm the economy, agricultural production or food security.

White farmers own almost three-quarters of SA’s agricultural land, according to a land audit by farm lobbying group Agri SA published in 2017.

The amount of land held by the government and racial groups who were disadvantaged under white-minority rule rose to 26.7% of the agricultural land in 2016, from 14.9% in 1994, according to the audit.

Ramaphosa said he wanted a study of farms that had been reclaimed or redistributed to black South Africans since 1994. “The real issue, though, is that most of the redistributed land is lying derelict at the moment,” he said. “It’s not being worked.”

The section of the Constitution that the ANC is seeking to change deals with all property, not just farm land.

Enoch Godongwana, the head of the ANC economic transformation committee, said in December other property could also targeted.