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Tackling the land debate

"South Africa belongs to all who live in it.” without this declaration our Constitution would be a hollow statement if the majority of South Africans did not have access to the land of which we were robbed and from which we were alienated during centuries of colonialism and decades of apartheid.

There is currently a lot of discussion and debate – but also disinformation and fear mongering around South Africa’s land reform and redistribution process.

It is therefore necessary to reiterate that the aim of land reform and redistribution is to make our nation more cohesive, more equal, more secure and more developed and it is an essential part of our vision of inclusive growth.

The process we have embarked on to ensure that all South Africans have access to land for a wide range of purposes – from subsistence farming to urban development and industrialization – is transparent, rules-based, constitutional and consultative.

Hearings have been held throughout the country and the current parliamentary process is a further opportunity for South Africans from all backgrounds and of all persuasions to jointly chart a way forward. 

We are confident that through dialogue, discussion and engagement we will arrive at solutions that will not only take our country forward but also transform it to truly reflect that our nation belongs to all who live in it.

Contrary to what some are claiming, the Constitution has not been amended and current laws apply. Government respects the rule of law and will act in accordance with the Constitution at all times.

As part of maintaining the rule of law, our law-enforcement agencies will therefore act against individuals or groups who illegally claim or occupy land for whatever reason. We cannot allow lawlessness to take hold while we are talking and working together as South Africans to ensure that we place land at the disposal of all South Africans in a fair and legal manner.

The ongoing parliamentary process will allow us to together determine a land reform model that works for everyone. The debate around land reform is an important one and it can ensure that we strengthen our nation and social cohesion by working together.

Government is leading the national effort for land restitution and redistribution that will undo the Original Sin of land dispossession and enable access to land in a way that grows the economy, ensures food security and increases agricultural production.

I encourage all South Africans to make their voice heard to Parliament as the public consultation process proceeds.

Citizens, the business community and the international investor community are among the many stakeholders who are watching our process very closely – and with good reason, because South Africa offers unique opportunities and benefits to all these interest groups.

While we are in this process, South Africa remains open for business, and investments in agriculture and farming are welcomed and remain safe. It is in South Africa's interests to have commercial farmers, and this process can ensure that we have even greater numbers of successful commercial farmers.

Investors in our country are reassured by our strong fiscal and economic framework that has been laid since the start of our democracy and which demonstrates our consistent prudent management of the economy. 

Our work is affirmed by the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index which ranks South Africa 22nd in the world for investor protection while the Ernst and Young’s (EY) Attractiveness Report on Africa 2017 highlights that South Africa remains the continent’s leading foreign direct investment destination.

Moreover, the country’s sound financial system, highly regulated banking sector and world class infrastructure supports investment. We remain committed as a country to the continuation of sound economic policies that vigorously pursue economic growth that includes and is enjoyed by all South Africans.