"This original sin that was committed when our country was colonized must be resolved,” said newly-elected South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Newly-elected South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said he welcomes discussions about the issue of land expropriations to prevent widespread, public alarm. However, he reiterated that his government intends to, “once and for all,” settle racial disparities in property ownership.
Taking a lesson from their northeastern neighbor, Zimbabwe, Ramaphosa has vowed to follow through with his own land reform program, expropriating land held by the descendants of European colonialists and transferring it to the majority Black populace.
"Soon enough I will initiate a dialogue with key stakeholders... There is no need for any one of us to panic and start beating war drums,” Ramaphosa said in parliament, according to Reuters. “We are going to address this and make sure that we come up with resolutions that resolve this once and for all. This original sin that was committed when our country was colonized must be resolved in a way that will take South Africa forward.”
However, AfriForum, a civil rights group representing mostly white South Africans, stated that it would launch an international campaign to inform governments and foreign investors “that property rights in South Africa are being threatened.”
On Tuesday, South Africa's parliament passed a motion brought by the Economic Freedom Fighters, or EFF, to carry out land expropriation without compensation, a pillar of the ruling African National Congress', or ANC, political platform.
The ANC has long promised to redress disparities in land ownership as the matter remains a pressing issue throughout the country.
Two decades after the end of apartheid and celebrations marking Nelson Mandela's release from prison, white estate proprietors continue to occupy the overwhelming majority of South Africa's land.