South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, the new leader of the governing party ANC, said on Thursday he aims to stamp out corruption and pursue a policy of “radical economic transformation” that will speed up expropriation of land without compensation.
“This conference has resolved that the expropriation of land without compensation should be among the mechanisms available to government to give effect to land reform and redistribution,” he said in his maiden speech delivered in the early hours of the morning.
Any move by the government to take land without compensation would bring a comparison to neighboring Zimbabwe, which launched a seizure of white-owned commercial farms in 2000.
Ramaphosa, a 65-year-old union leader who became a businessman and is now one of South Africa’s richest people, is likely to become the country’s next president after elections in 2019, because of his party’s electoral dominance.
The current embattled leader of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, could remain as president if he is not forced out and does not resign after the change in party leadership.
On Saturday, the ANC voted at its conference that land or property could be taken without compensation. Not only will this include agricultural land, but urban land as well.
There is no timeframe for the decision, but in principle, the constitution will be amended to make the decision “legal.”
A statement by Ramaphosa tried to sugarcoat the decision and said it would not affect the economy, agricultural production or food security.