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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Land reform is key to successful South Africa
stability says President Cyril Ramaphosa

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa will experience instability without a successful land reform, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

A program of land redistribution is required to heal the historical "festering wound" of land dispossession and enable the transformation and development, the president said in a Q&A session in Parliament.

Ramaphosa urged Members of Parliament to focus on stability in the country and on the achievement of development through transformation.

He defended his proposal announced in July that the Constitution be amended to provide clarity on the circumstances under which land expropriation without compensation could be effected.

It is based on an understanding that the Constitution, as it currently stands, allows for expropriation without compensation in certain circumstances, according to Ramaphosa.

"The proposal is intended to make explicit what is currently implicit in the Constitution," Ramaphosa said.

This announcement does not undermine nor does it preempt the outcome of the public consultation process, he added.

Parliament has finished public hearings on whether the Constitution should be amended to cater for land expropriation without compensation.

Once Parliament has adopted a position on the matter, it will become the government’s responsibility to implement, Ramaphosa said.

He reiterated the government’s position that the land reform should be implemented in a way that increases agricultural production, improves food security and ensures that the land is returned to those from whom it was taken under colonialism and apartheid.

"The acceleration of land redistribution is necessary not only to redress a grave historical injustice, but also to bring more producers into the agricultural sector and to make more land available for cultivation." he said.
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UPDATES:

United States says land reform in South Africa
would send the country "down the wrong path"

WASHINGTON United States (Xinhua) -- The U.S. State Department said here on Thursday that the current land reform policy in South Africa would send the country "down the wrong path."

Speaking at a press briefing, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said that U.S. President Donald Trump had discussed South Africa with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and asked him "to look closely at the current state of action in South Africa related to land reform."

She said U.S. embassy officials have held meetings with the South African government over the issue on Thursday, but did not give more details of the meetings.

Trump tweeted late Wednesday that "I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers," adding that the South African government is "seizing land from white farmers."

In response, the South African government tweeted that "South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past ..."

It added that "South Africa will speed up the pace of land reform in a careful and inclusive manner that does not divide our nation."
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South Africa says seeking clarification over Trump’s comments on land reform

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The South African government is seeking clarification over U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments about the land reform taking place in the African country, a cabinet minister said on Thursday.

This came after Trump tweeted on Wednesday that he has asked his Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to closely study the South African land seizures and expropriation, and the large-scale killing of farmers.

"(The) South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers," Trump tweeted.

South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu said she had noted "the unfortunate comments" by Trump.

It is regrettable that the tweet is based on false information, Sisulu said.

She said she has intrusted the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) to meet with the U.S. embassy to seek clarification on the matter.

Sisulu said she will also communicate with Pompeo on the matter through diplomatic channels.

South Africa’s Parliament is accelerating a process to amend the Constitution to cater for land expropriation without compensation.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said Wednesday that South Africa will experience instability without a successful land reform.

A program of land redistribution is required to heal the historical "festering wound" of land dispossession and enable transformation and development, Ramaphosa told MPs in Parliament.

AgriForum, an association of South African farmers, has launched an international campaign to get the South African government to stop its land reform.

The group insists that land expropriation without compensation will drive away white farmers, kill jobs and threaten food security.

The government said the land reform should be implemented in a way that increases agricultural production, improves food security and ensures that the land is returned to those from whom it was taken under colonialism and apartheid.
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FURTHER READING:

South Africa rejects U.S. President Donald Trump's farm 'seizure' claims

             

 

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