18/04/2018 17:00 SAST | Updated 18/04/2018 17:00 SAST

Land Reform: Ramaphosa Stays On-Message In London

The president has repeated his mantra about his vision for land reform, saying it must not damage the economy.

President Cyril Ramaphosa in an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday.
President Cyril Ramaphosa in an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has repeated his mantra about land reform in a speech at the offices of financial news service Bloomberg in London on Thursday, saying policies to speed up the process will not damage the economy.

He is in the British capital to attend a summit of heads of Commonwealth states and is using the opportunity to kickstart a global reinvestment drive to raise $100-billion [~R1.2-trillion] in investment over five years.

According to Bloomberg, Ramaphosa said the time has come to address land hunger among South Africans and added: "We won't damage the economy. The land drive should not lead to a reduction in agricultural production or endanger food production."

It is at least the sixth time that Ramaphosa has repeated the same message about land reform since the ANC adopted a resolution to implement a policy of expropriation of land without compensation at its national conference in December 2017.

In his first speech as ANC leader on December 21, 2017 Ramaphosa said expropriation without compensation would become government policy, but that it must not damage the economy, disrupt agriculture or endanger food security. He has repeated this a number of times since, but has been criticised for not adequately explaining how he plans to engineer a drastic new land-reform programme without major disruption to the economy.

He told Bloomberg in an interview that property rights of all South Africans must be protected, and that the land reform process and any future implemented policy will happen within the parameters of the Constitution.

Bloomberg also reported that Ramaphosa said his government is committed to fighting corruption and effecting repairs at state-owned enterprises. "We are putting in place measures to clean up. It's going to take time, but we are at it," he reportedly said.