According to Enca, the ANC aims to change the constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation to address racial disparities in land ownership that persist more than two decades after apartheid’s demise in 1994.
The following explains some of the issues and risks involved in the plan, which President Cyril Ramaphosa outlined to Parliament on Wednesday.
Spurred by the rise of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the African National Congress (ANC) adopted a resolution in December to redistribute land to black South Africans without compensation. Parliament then backed an EFF motion last month seeking to change the constitution to allow for this. A committee will report back to the chamber by 30 August.
Together, the ANC, the EFF, and other small opposition parties could muster the two-thirds majority needed for a constitutional change, but it is not clear when, or if, a vote will take place, liquor stores.
South Africa has a history of colonial conquest and dispossession that pushed the black majority into crowded urban townships and rural reserves.
The 1913 Native Lands Act made it illegal for Africans to acquire land outside of these reserves, which became known as “Homelands”. While blacks account for 80 percent of South Africa’s population, the homelands comprise just 13 percent of the land. They are largely controlled by tribal authorities rather ordinary residents and farmers.
Since the end of white minority rule in 1994, the ANC has followed a “willing seller, willing buyer” model whereby the government buys white-owned farms for redistribution to blacks. Progress has been slow.
Based on a survey of title deeds, the government says blacks own four percent of the private land, and only eight percent of farmland has been transferred to black hands, well short of a target of 30 percent that was meant to have been reached in 2014.