Ramaphosa – “Returning land to the dispossessed will unlock its potential”

Presdent Cyril Ramaphosa has once again outlined the purpose behind the resolution taken by the African National Congress’ (ANC) in their most recent elective conference, to move on land expropriation without compensation.

The ruling party held its inaugural Land Summit in Boksburg on Saturday, with Ramaphosa one of the key speakers.

He said that since the resolution was made in December last year, what followed has been the biggest debate on any political issue since 1994.

“I have characterised the dispossession of land from our forebears as the original sin that was committed against our people by the colonial invaders,” he said.

Ramaphosa added that the land summit was a step towards fulfilling one of the undertakings made in the formation of the ANC back in 1912, and stated that redistribution of land is essential to unlocking the country’s economic potential.

“When you return land to those who were forcibly dispossessed of their land, you unlock its economic value,” he continued.

“This will give practical effect to what the African National Congress has committed itself to radical socio-economic transformation.

“When you secure the rights of labour tenants to the land which they have occupied for generations, you unlock its economic value. When you provide support, training and finance to emerging farmers, you unlock the economic value of that land.”

Other notable speakers at the summit included former president, Kgalema Motlanthe – who recently led a panel which reviewed why land reform had largely failed since 1994 – as well as Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, whose aptly named book, The Land Is Ours, looks at the history of land dispossession in South Africa.