The African National Congress has made a decision to put a cap on the ownership of land and is also in the process of formulating policies that will curb the ownership of land by people of a foreign nationality. This was announced by the party’s Secretary General, Mr Gwede Mantashe, when he spoke to the media soon after his party’s Lekgotla in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Mr Mantashe said that the ANC’s decision-making meeting had decided to put a limit to the amount of land that any individual could be allowed to own in South Africa, which he said meant that individuals will, in future, be only allowed to own a maximum of 1 200 hectares of land. “Lekgotla has resolved that there should be a ceiling on land ownership of a maximum 1 200 hectares or two farms for both natural and all forms of legal persons,” Mantashe said. He added that the ANC’s three day National Executive Committee meeting, which is especially called a Lekgotla, made the resolution in its latest meeting in Pretoria and had also decided that all people would be subject to a compulsory declaration of land right in order to enable the government to carry out an effective land audit. The Secretary General, in his briefing to the media following the meeting of the ANC’s NEC, said that his party had also resolved that there should be more visible decisive steps by government on land redistribution, adding that the government needed to elaborate on the 50/50 policy framework.
According to Mr Mantashe, the ANC had also resolved that the ownership of land by foreigners be brought to a stop. This, he said emanated from the fact that according the latest land audit, as much as five to seven percent of South African land was in the hands of foreigners. He said the ANC had resolved to push government to formulate policies in which all foreigners would be prohibited from owning land. He added that this was not preempting the diligent working of land in South Africa by foreigners and in this regard, the ruling party had resolved that foreigners could access land through leaseholds.
These sentiments from the Lekgotla echo what was put forward by the Rural Development and and Land a Reform Minister, Gugile Nkwinti when he spoke in July, 2014 and proposed the setting up of a Regulation of Land Holdings Bill. Mr Nkwinti had said at the time that this would enable government to implement a land audit in order for it to be able to place on record the gender, nationality and race of land owners. At the time, Land Reform minister had said that while the government did not feel that it needed to expropriate land that was currently being owned by foreigners, his government would not think twice about taking away land that it felt was illegally acquired.