CAPE TOWN, Nov. 22 — The South African government on Thursday reiterated its commitment to a responsible land reform approach that is in the best interests of everyone.
The government respects the rule of law and will, at all times, act in accordance with the Constitution, acting cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said after a cabinet meeting in Cape Town.
The cabinet meeting discussed, among others, the ongoing land reform process, according to Williams.
This came after civil group AfriForum approached the U.S. Embassy and some other foreign embassies earlier this week, seeking their help to force the South African government to stop the land reform characterized by expropriation without compensation.
AfriForum also threatened to launch a court bid to force Parliament to set aside a report on the necessity to amend the Constitution to allow land expropriation without compensation.
Parliament’s Joint Constitutional Review Committee (JCRC) adopted the report last week in favor of amending Section 25 of the Constitution.
The cabinet noted the adoption of the report, Williams said.
She said amending the Constitution will make it possible for the state to expropriate land without compensation in the public interest.
The Constitution has so far been amended 17 times through a consultative and inclusive process, said Williams.
A public consultation process had seen numerous organizations making submissions on the Constitution Amendment Bill and public hearings had been held in all nine provinces, Williams said.
The JCRC’s report is expected to be tabled in the National Assembly for debate, said Williams.
The proposed land expropriation without compension has been strongly resisted by opponents who argue that the process will drive away white farmers, kill jobs and threaten food security.
But the government has repeatedly assured that it will pursue the land reform without destabilizing the agricultural sector, endangering food security in the country, or undermining economic growth and job creation.