Unjust South African Land Practices Must be Undone - Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that historical land ownership patterns must not only be transformed in the interest of justice but also to safeguard the nation's food security. Writing in his weekly newsletter on Monday, the President made this remark after a government announcement that the public will be able to apply to lease 700 000 hectares of underused or vacant state land in seven of the provinces.
"We are also losing prime agricultural land through land-use changes. Given our history, broadening access to agricultural land for commercial production and subsistence farming is a national priority ... By depriving our people of their right to own and work the land on which they depended for sustenance and livelihood, this great injustice effectively 'engineered the poverty of black South Africans'," Ramaphosa said. Although the post-1994 land reform process has resulted in more land being restored and restituted to black South Africans, Ramaphosa pointed out that the effects of the 1913 Natives Land Act continue to be in patterns of farmland ownership. "Our redistributive vision aims to strike a balance between social justice and redress and enhancing agricultural output by bringing more black farmers into the mainstream of the economy. Land is a productive asset that generates profit and can be used for collateral to secure other assets."

InFocus

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (file photo).

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