Land expropriation and redistribution has dominated much of the discussion around Ramaphosa’s presidency. The ANC’s December 2017 decision to adopt land expropriation with compensation as official policy, opened the door for the National Assembly to accept a motion to investigate changing the Constitution to make this possible. This has led to an outcry from various economic sectors and precipitated a national debate about the positives and negatives of a constitutional mandate to expropriate land without compensation, and whether this is even necessary.

Rampahosa made the following promises regarding land expropriation:

1. In his reply to the State of the Nation Address debate, he said that land redistribution would be an urgent priority for his administration in order “to free all of us from the bitterness and pain of the past”. But he added that it would not be done with “smash and grab interventions”.

2. He committed to accelerate land redistribution to black South Africans by expropriating land without compensation.

3. This will be done in line with the ANC’s resolution that it must promote agricultural production, improve food security, advance rural development, reduce poverty and strengthen the economy.

4. The government will undertake a process of consultation to determine how this resolution should be implemented.

What has done so far?

May 21, 2018: ANC says Expropriation Bill must be passed

The ANC resolves that it will test the Constitution, as it pertains to land expropriation without compensation.

During a land summit the party resolves that there is nothing wrong with Section 25 of the Constitution, which deals with expropriation with compensation, but that the party needs to address the legislative framework in order to resolve the critical land question.

“The ANC must pass the Expropriation Bill now and insert a clause… that says ‘without compensation’,” ANC national executive committee member Ronald Lamola says during a briefing at Luthuli House.

He tells journalists the ANC needs to test the legislation, urging the national, provincial and municipal governments, that had powers to expropriate, to go ahead and do so.

May 8, 2018: Land expropriation won’t harm economic development, says Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa tells the National Assembly in Parliament that expropriation will take place without harming economic development, productive agriculture and food security. He says that investors understand the importance of land reform and respect the need to pursue it while ensuring “stability, certainty and a clear, consistent message”.

“Investor roadshows internationally showed that foreign investors recognise the need for SA to find a solution to the inequitable distribution of land in the country,” says Ramaphosa.

April 14, 2018: Parliament calls for public submissions on land expropriation without compensation ✅

The parliamentary committee investigating whether sections of the Constitution must be amended to facilitate expropriation of land without compensation calls for written public submissions around the issue of whether section 25 of the Constitution, and any other sections, need to be changed.

This is part of its constitutional obligation to facilitate public participation in the process. All stakeholders are invited to submit written submissions on the necessity of and mechanisms for expropriating land without compensation. Members of the public can also indicate whether they are interested in making oral presentations before the committee.

March 30, 2018: There will be no land grabs, says Ramaphosa ✅

The land will be returned to people within the confines of the law, President Cyril Ramaphosa says during a Good Friday sermon, while also calling on landowners to share the land.

Ramaphosa touched on the burning issue of land expropriation without compensation at the Covenant Fellowship Church International in eSikhaleni in KwaZulu-Natal.

“We are going to return the land to our people so that our people can have their birth right,” he said, adding that it must be done “within the confines of the law”.

March 14, 2018: Panel recommends land claims backlog to be clear before further expropriation

Land expert Dr Aninka Claassens tells Parliament’s portfolio committee on rural development and land reform that the backlog on land claims desperately needs to be cleared before government implements any new policies aimed at changing land ownership patterns.

This is just one of the findings and recommendations of government’s high level panel into the impact of the Constitution on the socioeconomic realities of South Africans. The panel was led by former president Kgalema Motlanthe.

Among other things, the panel noted 8 million hectares has been transferred through land reform, most of which belonged to just 3 000 trusts and communal property associations. The panel also noted inadequate government capacity to support entities claiming land.

February 27, 2018: Motion on land expropriation without compensation accepted 

The National Assembly sets in motion a process to amend the Constitution so as to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation after the EFF tables a motion to do so.

The EFF’s motion originally called for the establishment of an ad hoc committee, which had to report back to the National Assembly by the end of May, but the ANC suggested an amendment, which was supported by the EFF.

There will be a public participation process in the Constitutional Review Committee’s work.