13:58 GMT +317 December 2018
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    South Africa's Parliamentary Committee Nods Land Seizure From White Farmers

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    In March, South Africa's parliament passed a motion initiated by the left-wing party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) that may finally lead to the seizure of land from white farmers without any financial recompense.

    South Africa's parliamentary review committee has recommended that a constitutional change be made to accommodate the government's policy of expropriating land without compensation.

    "South Africans have spoken loud and clear and we listened to their cry," the committee's co-chair Lewis Nzimande pointed out.

    The country's ruling African National Congress (ANC), for its part, praised the committee for its "sterling work during and beyond the public hearing process".

    READ MORE: White S African Farmers Claim 'Brutal' Attacks Amid Motion on Land Confiscation

    "We are confident that this position resonates with the aspiration of the overwhelming majority of our people. Land is not only an economic asset, it also restores the dignity of our people, who have been dispossessed of their land for centuries," the ANC said.

    South Africa's opposition parties, in turn, slammed the committee's work as "a complete farce", saying in a joint statement that the expropriation without compensation vote helps the government avoid "having to explain their rank failure over the past two decades to take land reform seriously.

    "The opposition does not oppose land reform, we oppose the amendment of the Constitution," the statement underscored.

    READ MORE: South Africa Vows to Avoid Zimbabwe-Style Land Grabs Targeting White Farmers

    It was echoed by South Africa's largest agricultural union AgriSA, which called the parliamentary committee's decision "unacceptable" and pledged that it would continue to oppose its implementation.

    "The proposed amendment is politically motivated and will cause large-scale damage to the South African economy. The priority for millions of South Africans is job creation, housing, crime prevention and quality education," AgriSA stressed.

    In early August, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa said   that the ANC is pushing ahead with plans to allow land expropriation without compensation. 

    READ MORE: 'At Peace': Zimbabwe Reverses Mugabe-Era Policies Against White Farmers

    He added that the ANC will "finalize a proposed amendment" to the constitution in a measure which he described as "critically important" to the country's economy.

    Although South Africa passed a law allowing land expropriation in 2016, Ramaphosa insisted that the constitution should be "more explicit" on the matter.

    In a separate development in August, ANC chairman Gwede Mantashe warned that "you shouldn't own more than 25,000 acres of land and if you own more, it should be taken without compensation." The statement prompted a record number of white South African farmers to put their land up for sale.

    In South Africa, 73 percent of agricultural estates still belong to white South Africans, who make up 10 percent of the country's population.

    Related:

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    Ex-Israeli Spec Ops Soldier Trains S Africa's White Farmers to Defend Themselves
    Seizure of White Farmers' Land in S Africa 'Severe Infringement on Human Rights'
    Tags:
    reform, government, compensation, white farmers, land, African National Congress (ANC), South Africa
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