Vote in SA's parliament moves land reform closer

Vote in SA's parliament moves land reform closer

Vote in SA's parliament moves land reform closer

The motion, brought forward by radical Marxist opposition leader Julius Malema, was approved with 241 votes in its support and 83 against. "Now is the time for justice", Malema told the parliament.

"We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land", he said.

It then called for parliament to establish an ad hoc committee to review and amend section 25 of the constitution (the property clause) to make expropriation without compensation in the public interest possible, to hold public consultations, and to make other necessary constitutional amendments which will make the EFF's land tenure policy possible.

The ruling African National Congress also supported Tuesday's motion, but with the provision that land seizures can not hurt agricultural production, economic stability or political stability - a fairly large and vague loophole, analysts say.

Parliament has ordered to report back on the issue by Aug 30.

Those opposing the motion to seize land include the Democratic Alliance‚ the Congress of the People‚ the African Christian Democratic Party and the Freedom Front Plus.

The process continued throughout the following centuries with increasing brutality and a succession of laws, notably the 1913 Natives Lands Act, which legalised the theft of land by prohibiting Africans from owning, buying or hiring land in 93% of South Africa.

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There are fears the vote will put South Africa on the same path as neighboring Zimbabwe, where forceful, violent seizures of white-owned farms in the early 2000s were blamed for the nation's economic freefall and political instability.

The official opposition Democratic Alliance party (DA) opposed the motion, arguing that changes to Section 25 will undermine property rights and scare off potential investors.

The ownership of land in South Africa has been a source of conflict since the European colonialists first landed at the Cape, took over the indigenous people's land and brutally suppressed any who stood in their way.

The government's plans to expropriate land without compensation have caused widespread anxiety with the rand falling due to concerns over property investments.

But land remains predominantly in white hands more than two decades after the end of apartheid, sparking growing discontent among South African blacks.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) backed the idea of expropriation of land without compensation "only in limited circumstances", as per the inkosi Russel Nsikayezwe Cebekhulu's speech.

"Where in the world has expropriation without compensation coupled to the waste of agricultural land, resulted in foreign confidence, economic growth and increased food production?".

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