Land expropriation is & # 39; crucial & # 39; for SA, writes Cyril Ramaphosa – FT

EDINBURGH – President Donald Trump is in a public spit with the South African government over land grabbing. As the Guardian reports, an order from Trump to state secretary Mike Pompeo to look at alleged seizures of farms and the "large-scale murder of peasants" in South Africa has led to anger and scorn in a country where land tenure and violent crimes are highly controversial issues. Trump tweeted about the subject after a fragment Fox news on Wednesday, when host Tucker Carlson claimed that President Cyril Ramaphosa had begun "grabbing the land of his own citizens without compensation because they have the wrong skin color", and calling the alleged attacks "immoral". Khusela Diko, spokesperson for Ramaphosa, said: "The presidency has taken note of Trump's tweet, which we believe has been misinformed, and we will deal with the case through diplomatic channels." Meanwhile, Ramaphosa instructed his spine doctors to Getting started and ensuring the publication of an article to its credit in a prestigious international business newspaper, the Financial Times, on why land grabs are used is crucial for South Africa. The PR team of Ramaphosa also tries to explain why grabbing land without compensation will all work differently south of the Limpopo. – Jackie Cameron

By Thulasizwe Sithole

"It is almost 25 years since South Africa became a democracy, but the promise of that historic achievement has not yet been fully realized by the millions of people who are unemployed and living in poverty," writes President Cyril Ramaphosa.

"Despite considerable progress, much of the economic disparities of the apartheid era continue to exist.After a decade of slow growth, the South African government has begun a major investment drive to boost economic growth and create new jobs," he says article in the Financial times.

"It has begun to address the obstacles to growth by working on increased policy security, shifting resources into infrastructure investments, reducing bureaucratic inefficiencies and stabilizing public finances.One of the biggest obstacles to growth is the serious inequalities between black and white South Africans, therefore, in order for the South African economy to reach its full potential, it is necessary to significantly reduce the differences in income, skills, assets and opportunities, "continues Ramaphosa.

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa

"One of the areas where this inequality is the most devastating is ownership and access to land." As the World Bank has pointed out, "the historical, very skewed distribution of land and production resources in South Africa is a source of inequality and social vulnerability. & # 39;

"It argues that, after skills, the current division of land is the second largest limitation for poverty reduction and shared prosperity.To enable South Africa to secure the future and ensure fair and just human development opportunities, as envisaged. our first Democratic President, Nelson Mandela, is a critical issue in reforming patterns of land ownership in South Africa.

"That is why the government has started a process of accelerated land reform and why South Africans are currently debating intensively about the prospect of expropriating land without compensation as one of the many measures to achieve this reform. involvement in this issue is limited to sound bites and not to content.

"The Land Issue" goes back more than a century to the Natives Land Act of 1913, which gave legislative form to a process of expropriation that had been underway since the colonial era. the country to just over 10 percent of the country, while the remainder was reserved for the white minority.

"These laws alienated the majority of our citizens from their birthplace and burial, deprived them of their possessions and deprived them of their livelihood, and even now the expropriation of the land determines the prospects of millions of South Africans.

"And it stops the economic development of the country by limiting the ownership of land to a small minority, the apartheid regime meant that one of the most valuable economic resources of the country would be seriously underused. of Rural Development and Land Reform released results of a Land Audit to determine land ownership patterns.

Land insight insights

"From other insights that resulted from the country audit, it turned out that:

  • Individuals, businesses and trusts own 90 percent of the country in South Africa and the state 10 percent
  • Of these 90 percent, individuals hold 39 percent, 31 percent trust, 25 percent companies and community-based organizations 4 percent, with co-ownership at 1 percent
  • On farms and farms, 97 percent of the total farms are owned by 7 percent of the landowners
  • Agricultural landownership per breed: 72 percent of farms and farms are owned by whites, 15 percent of colored citizens, 5 percent of Indians, and 4 percent of Africans. For decades the assets of the country – its land, its minerals, its human resources, its enterprises – have been owned, controlled and managed in a way that has prevented the extraction of their full value.

"It is our intention to unlock the economic potential of the country. Without the recognition of the property rights of all our people, we will not overcome the inequality and without giving the poor the means to farm the land productively, we will not beat poverty.

"In promoting accelerated land reform, the ruling African National Congress recently decided to propose a constitutional amendment that would clarify the conditions under which land could rightly be expropriated without compensation, although the current clause in the Constitution on property rights is a not necessarily prohibit such a measure, the ANC believes that an amendment would provide certainty and clarity.

The proposed amendment should reinforce the basic principles of the ownership clause, which inter alia prohibits the arbitrary deprivation of property and believes that expropriation is possible in the public interest with just and fair compensation. It also states that no facility can impede the process of land reform to restore the results of racial discrimination in the past.

"While a parliamentary committee is currently rounding off public hearings on this issue and still needs to pay attention to any constitutional changes, there have been several suggestions about when expropriation without compensation can be justified, including unused land, dilapidated buildings, purely speculative land positions or conditions. in which occupiers have strong historical rights and holders of property do not occupy or use their land, such as labor rent, informal settlements and abandoned inner-city buildings.

This is not a land grab

"This is not a land grab, nor is it an attack on the private ownership of real estate." The ANC was clear that its land reform program should not undermine future investments in the economy or damage agricultural production and food security.

"The proposals will not erode property rights, but instead will strengthen the rights of all South Africans, not just those who currently own the country." South Africa has learned from the experiences of other countries, both from what did and did not work, and will not make the same mistakes that others have made.

"The proposal on expropriation without compensation is part of a broader land reform program designed to ensure that all citizens can have their fundamental rights recognized, whether they live in communal areas, informal settlements or on commercial farms. urban land for cheap housing, so that the poor can own real estate and live near economic opportunities.

"For land reform to be successful, it is essential that beneficiaries of land redistribution are supported through funding, training, market access, irrigation and seed delivery, fertilizer and equipment, all contributing to the sustainability of emerging Land reform in South Africa is a moral, social and economic necessity: by bringing more land into productive use, by giving more assets and opportunities for South Africans to sustainable livelihoods, the country creates conditions for a larger, more inclusive and more meaningful growth, "he adds.

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