South Africa’s new president Cyril Ramaphosa pledged to return white owned farm land to black citizens

February 22, 2018

Africa, Business, International

South Africa’s new president Cyril Ramaphosa pledged to return white owned farm land to black citizens


South Africa’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has pledged to return the lands owned by white farmers since the 1600s to the black citizens of the country.

The government plans to accelerate land redistribution through expropriation without compensation.

“The expropriation of land without compensation is envisaged as one of the measures that we will use to accelerate the redistribution of land to black South Africans,” said Ramaphosa, who was sworn into office to succeed Jacob Zuma as president last week.

The millionaire ex-businessman Ramaphosa promised that land expropriation operations will not be a “smash and grab” exercise and promised to handle the matter properly, adding that people “must see this process as an opportunity.”

More than two decades after the end of apartheid in the 1990s, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party is under pressure to tackle racial disparities in land ownership in South Africa. The country is home to over 50 million people, with whites owning most of the land.

According to a recent study, black South Africans constitute 79 percent of the population, but directly own only 1.2 percent of the country’s rural land. Meanwhile, white South Africans, who constitute 9 percent of the country’s population, directly own 23.6 percent of its rural land, and 11.4 percent of land in towns and cities, according to the Land Audit report.

A similar program of land redistribution was carried out by then-Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Thousands of white farmers were forced from their lands
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