ANC coy about big land debate
Ruling party says it may amend the EFF's motion on land expropriation without compensation
The “new” ANC will face its first big test in parliament on Tuesday when it will be confronted with an EFF motion to change the constitution to allow land grabs.
Despite the party resolving at its December conference that land should be expropriated without compensation, the ANC was by Monday afternoon still unclear over whether it would support the EFF’s motion.
Deputy ANC chief whip Doris Dlakude was non-committal on her party’s stance on the motion brought by the EFF last last week.
“We will deal with the motion, according to our own conference resolution,” Dlakude told Times Select.
She said if the motion “speaks to what we resolved as the ANC in conference, we will support it”, but if they didn’t agree with the motion, her party would amend the motion.President Cyril Ramaphosa has said the ANC would be guided by its conference resolution on land expropriation – but added it “should be implemented in a way that increases agricultural production, improves food security”.
The EFF last week said it would be bring the motion.
Shortly after the EFF got 6% of the national vote during the 2014 national elections, it vowed to use its numbers to support a motion for expropriation without compensation.
But the ANC has never taken the party up on the offer.
The latest motion comes amid uncertainty over the ANC resolution, with some opposition parties and commentators arguing that it would not be possible to go through with expropriation without affecting food security.In his state of the nation address, Ramaphosa had pledged to accelate land redistribution but had also cautioned that it should not disturb food security.
Dlakude said her party would only finalise their stance on the matter on Tuesday.
“This motion, I am told, has been sent just now. Our caucus sits on Thursday. We will deal with this as an ANC strategy tomorrow morning but it will be based on our resolution,” she said.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said his party had not been in touch with the ANC on the matter.
“There is a motion on the table and everybody has an opportunity to express themselves tomorrow,” said Ndlozi.
He said the EFF did not have any no agreement with the parties in parliament on the motion.
DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said the leadership of his party was still considering a letter from the EFF asking for the party’s support on the motion.
“We received a letter from the EFF this afternoon ... setting out the motion and asking parties in the house to support it,” said Steenhuisen.
He said nothing had changed in the DA regarding the party’s views on expropriation without compensation.
“Our position has been clear from the beginning. We don’t believe in expropriation without compensation; we don’t believe it’s an impediment to meaningful land reform in South Africa,” said Steenhuisen.
Annelize Crosby, Agri-SA spokesperson on land, said her organisation had been closely watching the debate.
“We believe that expropriation without compensation is definitely not the way to go. We don’t believe it’s in the long-term interest of the country to go that route and we don’t see how it’s possible to do so without negatively impacting the whole of the economy and food security,” said Crosby.
She said they were expecting more consultation with the ANC and a feasibility study as the matter had big implications for the country.
Political analyst Dr Somadoda Fikeni said he thought the ANC would come with a nuanced proposition on the matter.
“Where EFF might just want an outright taking of land without compensation, the ANC may have a more nuanced approach. Then the blame game will start ... remember this is also posturing for election,” he said.