SAfrica risks ‘Zimbabwe-style land chaos’

Shockwaves are still being felt in South Africa after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s controversial announcement that the country’s constitution is to be changed to explicitly allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

Markets reacted negatively and the currency, the rand, has continued to plummet over the last week.

This is because the plan has invited comparisons with the chaotic land reform programme across the Limpopo River in neighbouring Zimbabwe, which saw scenes of violent evictions of mainly white farmers.

But the move will be welcomed by those tired of waiting for reforms promised when white-minority rule ended in South Africa in 1994.

Nearly a quarter of a century on, the racial differences are still stark, nowhere more so than in the area of land ownership.

White people, who make up just 9% of the population, own 72% of the private land that is held by individuals, government figures show.

The redistribution of land was a fundamental principle of the governing African National Congress (ANC) during its struggle against apartheid, which enshrined racial discrimination in law.

‘This country must be African’

The party has found it impossible to ignore the calls to go beyond its willing-seller-willing-buyer approach to land reform.

And Mr Ramaphosa appears to have bypassed a parliamentary consultation when he said in a television address that the constitution should be amended.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-45099915

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