There is demand for land reform to move with speed: Ramaphosa

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President Cyril Ramaphosa says if the current process of land redistribution were to be followed, it would take the government  about 75 to 100 years before it achieves its objectives. Ramaphosa was answering oral questions in the National Assembly.

He says there is a demand from people for land reform to move with speed. The President says under the current process, it will take time for government to achieve its target due to budgetary constraints.

He says the announcement he made on expropriation of land without compensation, was in his capacity as African National Congress President and not to pre-empt the Parliamentary process on the amendment of section 25.

The President says just like all other political parties, the ANC also has a position on this matter. “I made the announcement as the president of the ANC just as any leader of parties that are here have been able to speak about this issue but the ANC being the majority party has all the rights to give leadership in the country about what needs to be done. That’s precisely what needs to be done, you may not like it but that’s what it is.”

The Freedom Front Plus believes that expropriation of land without compensation will not lead to speedy land reform. Party leader, Pieter Groenewald, says it is not only investors who want certainty on the land matter, but also owners.

However, Ramaphosa was quick to respond that the landless want certainty too. The Democratic Alliance (DA), which is also opposed to land expropriation without compensation, says government must first release land that it owns, before amending section 25.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane, thanked the authors of the Constitution for incorporating section 25. “I agree with you that land ownership patterns in this country must change that’s a good thing and I want to thank the authors of the Constitution who put section 25.”

Ramaphosa, however, did not have to respond, as Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema responded. “ What is more comforting is that when people talk about the people who wrote the Constitution as if those people are dead forgetting that they are talking to one of them but if you come late to politics this is what happens.”

The United Democratic Movement, meanwhile, complained about lack of transparency when presiding officers take follow up questions.

The party’s Chief Whip, Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, accused deputy speaker, Lechesa Tsenoli, of not recognising their members who want to ask follow up questions. “Deputy Speaker the issue here is I wrote to your office looking for some transparency on this matter please.”

Ramaphosa has also said that government is looking into the issue of the fuel levy. He says the matter is complex, as the country is importing a commodity and does not control its price.

He has also revealed the additional list of zero VAT rated items, recommended by the Independent Panel of Experts.

They include, among others, white bread, bread flour, cake flour, sanitary products and school uniforms. Click below for more on the story: