01/03/2018 06:32 SAST | Updated 01/03/2018 15:32 SAST

Malema: 'Farmers Will NOT Lose Their Land'

Julius Malema says farmers do not have to leave, as their land will not be "taken from them".

Sumaya Hisham / Reuters
Julius Malema, leader of the minority opposition EFF party, walks out of Parliament during the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as president in Cape Town. February 15, 2018.

EFF leader Julius Malema says commercial farming will be allowed to continue unabated, although land that is idle will be redistributed by the state, News24 reported on Wednesday night. Addressing reporters at the EFF's public healthcare campaign launch at Chris Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto on Wednesday evening, Malema elaborated on how the EFF views land expropriation without compensation.

A majority of MPs in Parliament, including the ANC, voted in favour of a motion put forward by the EFF to review and if necessary change the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation on Tuesday.

Parliament's Constitutional Review Committee will meet to consider the decision and will report back to the National Assembly on changes to Section 25, the so-called "property clause", by the end of August.

On Wednesday evening, Malema reportedly said farmers working productive land should not worry.

According to News24, he said, "If you are a farmer and you have lost ownership of the land to the state, then the portion of the farm you are using to produce whatever you are producing should continue uninterrupted. [But] idling parts of the farm ... should be reallocated to someone else who will use it for production."

He said that under the EFF's proposal, no one, black or white, will own land. All land will belong to the state. He also said that South Africans would not pay rent to the state for land, and that only corporates and foreign investors would pay rent.

"We must all be allocated land. You can't sell it. You can't come tomorrow and say, I have sold my piece of land. If you don't want it, you must go back to government and say, I am leaving this place and you can take that which belongs to you and the government will reallocate it to someone else.

"The ownership patterns are going to be affected by the fact that now government owns land, no one will be arrogant on the basis of ownership of land," he said.

He said land expropriation will be done legally.

"It is not an issue that will cause a nightmare. It will be dealt with within the confines of the Constitution," he told reporters.

In Parliament on Tuesday, 241 MPs voted in favour of the motion, while 81 voted against it.

The motion was voted against by parties that included the DA. The DA's Thandeka Mbabana argued that the motion undermined property rights.

According to the Mail and Guardian, she said that amending the Constitution was the ANC's way of diverting attention from its failure to redistribute land.

Malema's remarks are a toned-down version of what the EFF has advocated.

In November 2016, according to Reuters, Malema told a crowd that they should seize white-owned land.

At the time, he reportedly said: "When we leave here, you will see any beautiful piece of land, you like it, occupy it, it belongs to you... It is the land that was taken from us by white people by force through genocide."