ANC recently succeeded in securing the two-thirds majority needed to pave the way for an amendment of the Constitution – a move which will enable the government to expropriate land without compensation – by supporting and modifying a motion from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).The land question in South Africa remains a thorny issue as black people were subjected to increasing dispossession during the apartheid era and as far back as the colonialists.A landmark in this process was the Natives Land Act of 1913, written about movingly by Sol Plaatje in his book Native Life in South Africa.
In post-apartheid South Africa, the government’s efforts to return land to the dispossessed – through the willing seller, willing buyer arrangement – hit an iceberg. In many instances, land owners, mainly white and mostly farmers, demanded exorbitant figures for land. The result has been frustration for the government which has been left unable to resettle black people or at least compensate them adequately.The government says only about 10% of commercial land has been restored to the dispossessed since 1994. Its stance on land expropriation without compensation comes as no surprise.The greatest fear of local and global stakeholders is that South Africa could be on its way to becoming another Zimbabwe, following the commitment to change the constitution for faster land reforms.Many questions have arisen among them:Why is the government eager to expropriate land?What are the proposed changes to the Constitution?What kind of property does expropriation apply to?What happens to agricultural debt?
Watch this episode as we look into the question of Land in South Africa.
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