The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) has welcomed the ANC's resolution to expropriate land without compensation, saying this had always been the policy of the PAC. However, the party criticised those who encourage illegal land occupations.
The ANC resolved to pursue a policy of land expropriation without compensation at its national conference in December.
According to eNCA, the PAC's president, Narius Moloto, said that the issue had come back to haunt South Africa. He said those who had laid down their lives in the struggle for land should be saluted.
"The crux at the heart of the PAC struggle and political intent has always been the return of the land to its rightful owners and free decolonised education for the African people with emphasis to African children[sic]. We salute valiant patriots who have laid down their lives and paid the supreme sacrifice for the return of the land to its rightful owners.
"The PAC's view is that the historic Act of Union is the Achilles heel that was assimilated with subtlety into the 1996 constitution of South Africa as the 'property clause 25'. This clause protects the naked robbery of colonial conquest made on the land of the indigenous people.
"The PAC the only liberation movement that is on record as having raised its objections to the property clause when it was submitted to the interim constitution during the multiparty negations of 1992-1993 in Kempton Park, and we still hold the same view after 25 years. We have not changed," he told eNCA.
The ANC's announcement sparked concern from several quarters, with AgriSA warning that land expropriation without compensation was an "economic time bomb", according to Eyewitness News.
The rand remained steady during the ANC's conference, likely because of Cyril Ramaphosa's election as party leader, but took a dive after the party's announcement on land, according to Business Day.
Bulelwa Mabasa, director and land claims expert at Werksmans Attorneys told Fin24 that the ANC was being disingenuous by not explaining why the land claims process had not worked thus far.
"Legally we know the slow pace around issues of expropriation has been a big challenge. For the first 10 to 15 years the cost of expropriation had to be borne by government and –– in my view –– the ANC mistakenly went the way of 'willing buyer, willing seller', while the Constitution only talks about what is 'just and equitable'," said Mabasa.
"So government ended up paying much more than it should have."
The PAC warned against "tricksters" who encouraged illegal land occupations.
"The advent of modern confidence tricksters, who come in the form of political parties vying for popular votes while selling out the material and spiritual interests of the African people, must come to an end. Expropriation of land without compensation may only be considered by the constitutional court when public interest has been identified," Moloto said.
"Con artists should not use this emotive issue of the land to pull wool over the eyes of the African masses. The real question is who expropriates, and in whose interest is the land taken back. The land and its surrounds belong to the African people."