The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has issued a standing invitation to the ANC that the governing party can use its votes to change the Constitution — but the ANC isn't biting.
Dali Mpofu, the EFF's national chairperson, says the restoration of land to black South Africans remains the centrepiece of the party's mission. EFF leader Julius Malema appeared in court in Bloemfontein last week on charges related to the Riotous Assemblies Act of 1956. He reportedly told his supporters in 2014 they should occupy land illegally "because its theirs".
"We've told the ANC: 'Take our votes in the National Assembly (NA) and let's change the Constitution.' It's a standing offer. We want to amend the law so that we can take land without paying for it," Mpofu says.
We've told the ANC: 'Take our votes in the National Assembly and let's change the Constitution.'Dali Mpofu
The Constitution can only be changed with the consent of 266 of the NA's 400 MP's. The ANC will be able to amend the country's supreme law if the EFF's 25 MP's vote with the ANC's 249.
The EFF's target is Article 25 (the so-called property clause), which governs the statutory expropriation of land, stipulating it may be taken by the state if it is in the public interest and compensation is "just and equitable".
Former Deputy Chief Justice, Dikgang Moseneke, said last week government has not fully taken advantage of the Constitutional mechanisms provided by Article 25 and more needs to be done to avert "a revolt".
Mpofu reckons that isn't far off.
"The time for the peaceful and legal transfer of land is now. People are growing restless and want the issue resolved. I am convinced we will see violence and social instability if we do not give the land back to its rightful owners. Violence is almost guaranteed."
Zizi Kodwa, the ANC's national spokesperson, rejected the EFF's offer of votes in the NA. He said it was on the table during negotiations in August when possible coalitions after the municipal elections were discussed.
"The EFF made a number of offers which were impossible, totally unworkable."
We remain committed to address the land question within the bounds of the Constitution and law. We cannot condone the illegal occupation or grabs of land."Zizi Kodwa
Kodwa admitted the governing party has not done enough to speed up reform. "We have implemented most clauses of the Freedom Charter, bar the redistribution of land and wealth. We know that."