S. Africa’s ANC Urges Test of Current Land Laws on Expropriation

  • Constitution may not need to be changed for land-reform policy
    • ANC, lawmakers agreed to allow expropriation without payment
Chairperson of the ANC's Economic Transformation Commission, Enoch Godongwana, Image: Nina Oosthuizen
Chairperson of the ANC’s Economic Transformation Commission, Enoch Godongwana, Image: Nina Oosthuizen

South Africa’s government should test current laws on land because it may not be necessary to change the constitution to ensure expropriation without payment, according to the African National Congress.

The ruling party won’t be reckless on its land policy and the constitution may already allow for redistribution without compensation, Enoch Godongwana, head of the party’s economic transformation committee, told reporters in Johannesburg on Monday. A parliamentary resolution to change the constitution had raised concern among some investors that it signaled a shift to a radical land-reform strategy and fears of Zimbabwe-style farm seizures.

“The proposal that has been put forward now is not a reckless expropriation of land without compensation policy, it is a proposal that is based on sustainable principles and methods,” Godongwana said, reporting back on the party’s weekend land-policy summit. The ANC’s National Executive Committee will now consider the proposals, he said.

The Land Expropriation Bill should be tested in the Constitutional Court, ANC NEC member Ronald Lamola said at the same briefing.

The ANC decided at its congress in December to amend the constitution, and lawmakers agreed to the principle of land seizures in a resolution proposed by the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters in February. The main opposition Democratic Alliance and farmers’ groups say the policy will deter investment.


President Cyril Ramaphosa has said land reform is urgent but will be done without harming food production or the wider economy.

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