S. Africa's Gov't May Seize 195 Farms From White Owners – Reports

© AP Photo / Schalk van ZuydamFarmer in South Africa. (File)
Farmer in South Africa. (File) - Sputnik International
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More than two decades after the end of apartheid, white people still own most of South Africa's land, but the government now plans to transfer land to the country’s black majority.

An estimated 200 white-owned farms have reportedly been earmarked by the South African government to be handed over to black farmers, News24 reported, citing the head of the African National Congress, Gwede Mantashe.

A man holds an African National Congress flag as South African ruling party African National Congress supporters gather to listen to President Jacob Zuma delivering a speech during an Election campaign rally at Umasizakhe stadium in the Eastern Cape city of Graaf-Reinet on April 10, 2014 - Sputnik International
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According to Mantashe, who is also the country's mines minister and a close ally of President Cyril Ramaphosa, the government plans to take land from those who own more than 12,000 hectares without compensation.

The announcement, made earlier this week, sent the national currency, the rand tumbling.

“You shouldn't own more than 12,000 hectares of land and therefore if you own more, it should be taken without compensation,” ANC Chairman Gwede Mantashe, who is also the country's mines minister, told News24 on Wednesday.

AfriForum, a lobby group which mainly represents white South Africans, says it has obtained a list of 195 farms which the government plans to seize.

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has denied the claim, saying there is “no truth to this document.”

More than two decades after the end of apartheid, land ownership remains a major irritant as the government has been slow to transfer land to the country’s black majority.

READ MORE: In South Africa White Farmers Reportedly Arm Themselves Amid New Murders,Attacks

The government’s land redistribution plans are seen by many investors as a breach of property rights. Aware of these concerns, the government had promised that the proposed land reform would be implemented fully in line with a parliamentary process.

The ANC is under pressure to speed up land reform in the run-up to next year's national elections, where the ultra-left Economic Freedom Fighters party has made faster land redistribution one of its main policies.

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