CAPE TOWN-- President Cyril Ramaphosa has told Parliament that if the current process of land redistribution in South Africa is to be followed, it would take the government about 75 to 100 years before it achieves its objectives.

Responding to oral questions in the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, here Wednesday, he said there is a demand from the people for land reform to move with speed. Under the current process, it would take too much time for Government to achieve its target because of budgetary constraints.

He said the announcement he made on expropriation of land without compensation was made n his capacity as President of the African National Congress, the ruling party, and not to pre-empt the Parliamentary process on the amendment of Section 25 of the national Constitution.

The President said that like all other political parties, the ANC also has a position on this matter. I made the announcement as the president of the ANC just as any leader of parties that are here have been able to speak about this issue but the ANC being the majority party has all the right to give leadership in the country about what needs to be done. That's precisely what needs to be done, you may not like it but that's what it is.

The Freedom Front Plus party believes that expropriation of land without compensation will not lead to speedy land reform. Party leader Pieter Groenewald said it was not only investors who wanted certainty on the land matter, but also the land owners.

However, Ramaphosa was quick to respond that the landless wanted certainty too. The Democratic Alliance (DA), the biggest opposition party, which is also opposed to land expropriation without compensation, said the government must first release land which it owns, before amending the Constitution to facilitate expropriation without compensation.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane, thanked the authors of the Constitution for incorporating section 25. I agree with you that land ownership patterns in this country must change; that's a good thing and I want to thank the authors of the Constitution who put in section 25.

Ramaphosa, however, did not have to respond, as Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema responded: What is more comforting is that when people talk about the people who wrote the Constitution as if those people are dead, forgetting that they are talking to one of them but if you come late to politics this is what happens.

The United Democratic Movement, meanwhile, complained about lack of transparency when presiding officers take follow-up questions.

The party's Chief Whip, Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, accused Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoliof not recognizing his party's members who want to ask follow-up questions. Deputy Speaker, the issue here is I wrote to your office looking for some transparency on this matter please.

Ramaphosa has also said that government is looking into the issue of the fuel levy. He says the matter is complex, as the country is importing a commodity and does not control its price. He also revealed the additional list of zero VAT rated items, recommended by the Independent Panel of Experts.

They include, among others, white bread, bread flour, cake flour, sanitary products and school uniforms.


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