Lindiwe Zulu seeks land seizure without payment | Fin24
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Lindiwe Zulu seeks land seizure without payment

May 03 2017 22:59
Antony Sguazzin, Bloomberg News

Durban - South Africa must change its constitution to allow the seizure of land for redistribution to black people without compensation because the country’s laws are hindering the transformation of the economy more than two decades after the end of apartheid, the minister for small business development said.

President Jacob Zuma has “decided enough is enough” and the ruling African National Congress will now accelerate distributing the nation’s wealth more equally between the black majority and the more affluent white minority, Minister Lindiwe Zulu said in an interview at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban on Wednesday.

“There’s nothing wrong with changing the constitution where it’s not helping you - where we need to change it, we will change it,” she said. “Our people are not going to forgive us if we prolong this thing.

"Radical economic transformation - what does that mean? Ownership of the means of production. What does that mean? Bringing black people into the space of the bigger economy of South Africa.”

READ: Gigaba: Govt must be decisive on economic transformation

Zuma has stepped up calls for so-called radical economic transformation and suggested that the constitution be changed to allow the seizure of land without compensation. He has come under pressure as economic growth stagnates and calls for his resignation from the opposition, civil society and senior officials in his own party have grown following a series of scandals and an unpopular Cabinet reshuffle.

In March, the ruling party contradicted him, saying it was committed to paying fair compensation for land.

READ: ANC backs just, equitable compensation for land

Black South Africans were dispossessed of their land during more than three centuries of white-minority rule and the bulk of profitable farms and estates are currently owned by the smaller group.

‘Eat politics’

“We have to really push it now because if we don’t, we will find ourselves with the same people we said we liberated saying, ‘You liberated us and then what? We are not going to eat politics’,” Zulu said. “Where government feels there mustn’t be any compensation, there shouldn’t be compensation.”

While Zuma is due to step down as leader of the ANC in December, his successor will pursue similar policies because the “ANC is not an individual,” she said. Still, redistribution must be “orderly” and the land should be used for agriculture and housing.

“This government must not be diverted from the real issues that are facing South Africa,” Zulu said. “The real issues facing South Africa are poverty, inequality and unemployment.”

‘Too slow’

Jeff Radebe, a minister in the presidency and the ANC’s policy chief, said while land redistribution had been too slow, land grabs weren’t being considered at this stage.

“That is not on the table at the moment,” he said in an interview at the Durban conference. “Everything that we do is in accordance with the constitution.”

Radebe also said the government and ruling party were also working to restore the country’s investment-grade credit rating, which was cut to junk by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings after Zuma fired Pravin Gordhan as his finance minister.

“Those who said the downgrades were not important were wrong,” he said.

“There is just no way that a downgrade can be anything other than bad for South Africa. It is making us even more determined to push the story of South Africa. The challenges that we face require that we work closely with business to invite them to invest.”

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anc  |  lindiwe zulu  |  land  |  sa economy


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