South Africa’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has promised to return land owned by whites to Black South Africans.
The land distribution program, said the newly sworn-in president, would be done through expropriation without compensation.
“The expropriation of land without compensation is envisaged as one of the measures that we will use to accelerate the redistribution of land to black South Africans,” said Ramaphosa.
During a speech to Parliament on Tuesday, Ramaphosa explained that the program is one based on equity.
“No-one is saying that land must be taken away from our people,” he said, “Rather, it is how we can make sure that our people have equitable access to land and security of tenure. We must see this process of accelerated land redistribution as an opportunity and not as a threat.”
According to a recent Land Audit report, while Black South Africans are 79 percent of the population, they own only 1.2 percent of the rural land in the country. Meanwhile white people in the country, only 9 percent of the population, own 23.6 percent of its rural land, and 11.4 percent of land in towns and cities.
In the nineties and 2000s, a similar program was carried out by then-President Robert Mugabe. Unfortunately, it had led to a large economic downturn, with food production plummeting in the country.
As such, Ramaphosa reassured, “in dealing with this complex matter (we will not) make the mistakes that others have made.”