ANC backs motion to take back ‘white-owned’ land without compensation

Julius Sello Malema is the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, a South African political party, which he founded in July 2013. He previously served as President of the African National Congress Youth League from 2008 to 2012

The Parliamentary Caucus of South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday afternoon, chose to support a draft resolution, with amendments, introduced by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for parliament to establish an ad hoc committee to explore, debate and finally introduce a constitutional amendment to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation in the public interest.

On behalf of the ANC, the newly-appointed minister for water and sanitation Gugile Nkwinti (who before the Monday night cabinet resuffle, was the land reform minister) said that the governing party would support the motion, brought in the name of the EFF leader Julius Malema.

There was an early indication on Tuesday that the ANC caucus would adopt the resolution – and essentially make sure that it would pass – when the ANC national executive member Tony Yengeni tweeted that the governing party would support the motion.

In his speech, Malema drew the picture of land dispossession from the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck in 1652 at the Cape, to the failure of the ANC to ‘free’ the people from the townships, which he called prison camps.

The EFF’s draft resolution was drawn to capitalise on the ANC’s resolution at its 54th national conference in December 2017 that expropriation of land without compensation must go ahead. President Cyril Ramaphosa made a similar commitment in his inaugural State of the Nation Address earlier this month, saying, “We are determined that expropriation without compensation should be implemented in a way that increases agricultural production, improves food security and ensure that the land is returned to those from whom it was taken under colonialism and apartheid.”

The draft resolution read: “That the House acknowledges that in his State of the Nation Address, President Ramaphosa made a commitment that government will embark on a radical land reform programme that entails expropriation of land without compensation…”