JOHANNESBURG, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says the proposal of land expropriation without compensation to drive land redistribution has ignited a vigorous and welcomed debate.
It has required that we confront the injustices of the past. It means that we must expand the basket of agricultural support services available to both established and emerging farmers, he said when addressing the African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA) Agribusiness Transformation Conference gala dinner in Kempton Park, near here, Monday night.
The President said the country's land must be shared among those who wish to work it, and those who wish to work it must be given the support and encouragement to be successful. This is necessary to correct a past wrong. It is also necessary to ensure a fair and prosperous future for all, President Ramaphosa added.
The President said there had never been a time since the advent of democracy nearly 25 years ago that the country had been so engaged in a public conversation around land reform.
This includes a programme of accelerated land reform, which the government has embarked on. The programme aims to redistribute more land at a faster pace to black South Africans to ensure security of tenure. It is envisaged that this will change the distorted patterns of development both in cities and the countryside.
President Ramaphosa stressed the need for Government to ensure it uses its procurement power to open up markets for emerging farmers. He said through the government's engagements with groups like AFASA, we must define what other measures we must take to create a conducive and favourable environment for black farmers to thrive.
In all this, we are guided by the need to increase agricultural production, unlock the economic potential of our land, stimulate economic growth, create jobs and ensure food security," he added." Through accelerated land redistribution, and with the necessary support from the State, more and more black farmers will emerge, unlocking the economic potential both of land and of people.
We must work together as a nation to make our land reform programme a success. This is the time for South Africans to find each other, not fight each other. Black and white farmers must together, and working with government, build a better future not just in the agrarian economy but in society at large. We are convinced that ensuring an equitable distribution of land is at the heart of creating a united and cohesive nation.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK