Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema says President Cyril Ramaphosa must not bluff about following through with plans to allow land expropriation without compensation.
Ramaphosa told Parliament during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Friday that the ANC will go ahead with plans to amend the Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation.
But Malema responded on Monday and said Ramaphosa’s statement of intent did not capture the headlines because the media, and the public, “knew he was bluffing”.
“We all agreed. That was the highest applause you got,” Malema told a joint sitting of Parliament during the SONA debate.
“[But] they know you were not serious about it. Anybody who is worried about investment in South Africa would have been worried when you mentioned expropriation of land without compensation.
“But you told them: ‘Hai, I’m just passing time. I’m just silencing my opponents in the ANC.'”
“This cannot be an issue to bluff about. This cannot be an issue to pass time with. It is an emotive issue and you only mention it, if you mean it.”
Malema’s colleagues in the EFF benches cheered and applauded as he spoke.
DA warned over future metro victories
“There are no conditions attached to expropriation without compensation because, when they took our land, they never attached any conditions. They just killed our people.”
Malema also had a warning for his DA counterpart Mmusi Maimane, who had spoken just before him in the session.
“I want to warn you, the leader of the opposition: your stay in the metros is going to depend on your attitude on the expropriation of land without compensation.”
“We want to warn you about that. That is a fundamental issue that is going to make us fight with you because anyone opposed to expropriation of land without compensation, is the enemy of our people and will be dealt with.”
This was met with loud cheers from the EFF benches. The EFF currently have an agreement in the metros of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay that allows the DA to govern in place of the ANC.
‘Constitutional fix not needed’
Maimane said earlier in the sessions that Ramaphosa – as an original co-author of the Constitution – had a tough choice ahead of him when it came to the land question.
“On Friday, you reaffirmed the soaring words of its opening pages: that South Africa belongs to all who live in it,” he said.
“Bold leadership requires that you resist the pressures in your party to undo the rights enshrined in our Constitution, including property rights.
“These same property rights underpin the entire economy, as you well know from your own successful business career.”
The issue did not need a constitutional change to fix, but political will to implement what already is allowed for in the Constitution, he said.
“We can have a thriving, growing, diverse agricultural sector whose wonderful produce fills the shelves all over the world.
“But we absolutely cannot have this if farmers do not know if or when their land will be taken from them without any compensation.
“Expropriation of land without compensation is incompatible with a growing, flourishing economy. You can have one or the other, but never both,” Maimane said to applause from his caucus.
‘Let those who work it, own it’
South Africa’s neighbours Zimbabwe, who had pursued such “disastrous and destructive” policies in the past, were now trying to reverse those decisions, he added.
“This is a hard choice you must make, Mr President, and I hope you will stand up for the integrity of our nation’s founding document which you had such a pivotal role in writing.”
Maimane admitted that the 1913 Native Land Act was apartheid’s “original sin”.
“Its consequences are still felt in our society today and, make no mistake, must be addressed.
“We can correct this injustice in a way that respects the rule of law and in which the rights of current and future land owners are protected.
“We can speed up land reform by rooting out corruption and inefficiency.
“And we must trust emerging black farmers with real land ownership, and not just as permanent tenants of the state. Let those who work the land, own the land.”
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