Land expropriation: “Relax, it will end up very well” says SA President Ramaphosa

South Africa's president Cyril ramaphosa
South Africa’s President Cyril ramaphosa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has once again called for calm regarding the issue of land expropriation without compensation.

The President had to navigate some tough question posed to him by members of parliament during his National Council of Provinces (NCOP) address. Unsurprisingly, the issue of land reform dominated discussions.

As reported by News24, Ramaphosa stood firm on the African National Congress’ (ANC) decision for accelerated land reform. It’s been just over a month since the President official announced his support for Constitutional amendments to section 25 of the Bill of Rights, which define the nation’s private property rights.

Interestingly enough, although the ANC has thrown its weight behind amending the Constitution, the political party believes that it can already expropriate land without compensation under the current regulations. This contentious comment has led the governing party to enact a trial period of expropriation, in which farms have been highlighted and actively pursued, without compensation.

Land expropriation: The Donald Trump Tweet

One of the more bizarre moments over the last month, was when United States President, Donald Trump, entered the South African land debate by instructing his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to investigate the issues afflicting farmers, by Tweeting, on 23 August:

“I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and large scale killing of farmers.”

Trump’s utterances were met with both backlash and support from various members of South African society. With comparisons to neighbouring Zimbabwe, and its tumultuous reform strategy, South Africans have questioned the possibility of similar international sanctions being placed on the nation, should the due process be flouted in the search for redress.

Ramaphosa denied the prospect of sanctions, maintaining that the international community was, by and large, in support of reform, saying:

“As the matter is ventilated more broadly, more well-thinking people can see this is a historic problem that must be addressed. There is no reason to believe any country will impose sanctions on South Africa.”

The inevitability of land expropriation

During parliamentary discussions, President Ramaphosa urged South Africans to engage with the issue of land reform in a positive and constructive way, adding that the nation would be forced to answer uncomfortable questions in the quest for socioeconomic redress, saying:

“Let’s face it, what we are going through has evoked a lot of questions.

A lot of people bring good solutions that we should not reject out of hand. Rather than try and talk our country down, let us talk about the positives. Love your country as you love yourself.

Just relax, this process will end up very well.”

Ramaphosa answers questions on AfriForum

Following a nasty verbal scuffle between the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and local lobby group, AfriForum, which played out before the review committee’s hearings on land, MP Tebogo Mokwele took a further dig at political counterparts, saying that South Africa was:

“still faced by the arrogance of right wingers, by name AfriForum, who is continuously spreading propaganda that white farmers are murdered.”

The EFF member then asked Ramaphosa what he would do, as President of the country, to counteract the spreading of propaganda.

Ramaphosa maintained that ‘fake news’ would be revealed as such through vigorous debate, saying:

“We are going to prove that those who are spreading lies about our country… is spreading falsehoods.”