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The South African Presidential Panel supports limited land seizures



  A protester in South Africa performs a poster reading

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The radical EFF opposition party has made the expropriation of land without compensation a central national issue

A Presidential Panel in South Africa has proposed the expropriation of land without compensation under limited circumstances.

Plots of land that are only for speculative purposes or inhabited by tenants should be given, it advises.

White people, who make up just 9% of the population, own 72% of arable land owned by individuals.

President Cyril Ramaphosa supports the land expropriation, which is popular among the black majority.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has repeatedly pledged since its inauguration in 1

994 to accelerate land transfer to the black majority after the rule of the white minority ended, but progress has been slow.

Opponents of land confiscation point to Zimbabwe, where a similar policy by former President Robert Mugabe ruined the economy and deterred investors.

President Ramaphosa put together the team of experts last year as the ANC was pressured by opposition parties, in particular the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

The panel suggested that the government

  • expropriate plots of land that were held for speculative purposes only
  • . Land already used by tenants and former tenants
  • and abandoned inner-city buildings with absent landlords.

Those who had bought property since the end of apartheid should be treated differently from those who had inherited land held under the apartheid system.

Democratic Alliance's main opposition party rejected the report's recommendations on grounds of expropriation without compensation, "further affecting our ailing economy".

Parliament is expected to debate planned amendments to the land expropriation law in October Following the end of apartheid in 1994, the ANC government said it would return 30% of this land to its previous owners by 2014

  • ] commercial arable land was redistributed.

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