Thursday, August 23, 2018

President Ramaphosa will face questions about land reform from both sides of the house today.

Gaye Davis
Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN – President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to be grilled on the land question and jobs when he answers questions in the National Assembly this afternoon.

Ramaphosa’s announcement earlier this month that the African National Congress (ANC) would push ahead with changing the Constitution to spell out the conditions under which land can be expropriated without compensation knocked the rand.

On Monday, he told the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa that while the Constitution allows for expropriation without compensation this must be made explicitly clear to speed up land reform.

President Ramaphosa will face questions about land reform from both sides of the house today.

While the expropriation debate has so far focused on agricultural land, an ANC question asks him to spell out the government’s position on the expropriation of urban land and property.

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane wants to know if the government backs the ANC’s decision to amend section 25 of the Constitution, which was taken before the parliamentary committee tasked to test public opinion on this had concluded its work.

Maimane is also asking Ramaphosa to explain why the government’s failed to reduce unemployment and create jobs, while Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema has a question about Eskom’s independent power producers’ programme.

He’s reiterated that land expropriation without compensation should not threaten the stability of the economy and has called on black farmers to play their role.

He says the Constitution already provides for the provision of land for farmers who wish to work the land and has urged them to approach government.

Ramaphosa has called for calm during the debate on land without compensation.

He says the focus should be on stabilising the farming sector and undoing the wrongs of the past.

“We still have a festering wound in terms of how the land was taken from our people and that wound needs to be healed. The only way to heal that wound is to give land to our people.”

The president has also urged agriculture officials to reconsider processes which prospective farmers have to follow before they are adequately resourced by the department.

“Our country’s land must be shared among those who wish to work it and they must be given support.”

Ramaphosa says once there is clarity around Section 25 of the Constitution, land restitution will be accelerated.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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