The chairman of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has said the state should take land without compensation from owners of more than 12,000 hectares.
The remarks of Gwede Mantashe, who is a close ally of President Cyril Ramaphosa, were partly blamed for the weakening of the South African rand on Wednesday.
“You shouldn’t own more than 12,000 hectares of land and therefore if you own more, it should be taken without compensation,” Mantashe, who is also the country’s mines minister, told the News24 website in an interview published on Wednesday.
More than two decades after the end of apartheid, white South Africans still own most of the country’s land.
And the ANC is under pressure to make headway with land reform to transfer land to the black majority ahead of next year’s national election.
The rival leftist Economic Freedom Fighters party has made faster land redistribution one of its main policies.
The ANC plans to amend the constitution to redistribute land [Themba Hadebe/AP]
The ANC’s plans to amend the constitution to redistribute land have been interpreted negatively by some investors, who see them as undermining property rights.
The ruling party has sought to assuage those fears by saying that land reform will follow a parliamentary process.
The 12,000 hectare land ownership limit was mooted in 2016, by then-rural development minister Gugile Nkwinti.
But Nkwinti said the government would seek to buy, not expropriate without compensation, land from those owning more than 12,000 hectares.