President Jacob Zuma has vowed to explore land expropriation without compensation, as the ANC gears up towards its elective conference in December.
Speaking to several thousand people at Freedom Day celebrations in Manguzi – a northern KwaZulu-Natal town which borders Mozambique – Zuma said black South Africans were still economically disempowered, despite the country achieving political freedom.
This year marks 23 years since South Africa voted in its first democratic elections. The land question was key to dealing with this disempowerment.
“We are also very much aware of our people’s quest for land. We reiterate that we will use all available instruments necessary in expediting land restitution and respond to land hunger,” Zuma said.
“The land question will feature prominently in the policy conference discussions of the governing party in June‚ including the debates on the expropriation of land without compensation.”
Earlier‚ he said economic freedom was still elusive.
“We have achieved political freedom but economic freedom remains largely elusive. It is for this reason that we speak about radical economic transformation.
“We mean fundamental change in the structure‚ systems‚ institutions and patterns of ownership‚ management and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans‚ especially the poor‚ the majority of whom are African and women‚” he said.
“The level of inequality remains high. White households earn at least five times more than black households. Only 10% of the top 100 companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange are owned by black South Africans‚ directly achieved‚ principally‚ through the black empowerment codes.
“The pace of transformation in the workplace‚ the implementation of affirmative action policies as required by the Employment Equity Act‚ also remains very slow,” Zuma said.
Before he took to the podium‚ the president shared lighter moments with his deputy‚ Cyril Ramaphosa‚ as the two tried to show they had set their differences aside.
Zuma arrived amid huge fanfare at the sprawling and teeming sports field.
He was welcomed with ululations from thousands of people waving mini South African flags.
Zuma and Ramaphosa sat comfortably next to each other on the stage.
The two have seemingly been at loggerheads with one another since the recent cabinet reshuffle‚ but – on top of the apparent jokes and quips – also shared moments of deep conversation as they mounted a united front. – TMG Digital/TimesLIVE