Land reform key to South Africa's stability: president

South Africa will experience instability without a successful land reform, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

A program of land redistribution is required to heal the historical "festering wound" of land dispossession and enable the transformation and development, the president said in a Q&A session in Parliament.

Ramaphosa urged Members of Parliament to focus on stability in the country and on the achievement of development through transformation.

He defended his proposal announced in July that the Constitution be amended to provide clarity on the circumstances under which land expropriation without compensation could be effected.

It is based on an understanding that the Constitution, as it currently stands, allows for expropriation without compensation in certain circumstances, according to Ramaphosa.

"The proposal is intended to make explicit what is currently implicit in the Constitution," Ramaphosa said.

This announcement does not undermine nor does it preempt the outcome of the public consultation process, he added.

Parliament has finished public hearings on whether the Constitution should be amended to cater for land expropriation without compensation.

Once Parliament has adopted a position on the matter, it will become the government's responsibility to implement, Ramaphosa said.

He reiterated the government's position that the land reform should be implemented in a way that increases agricultural production, improves food security and ensures that the land is returned to those from whom it was taken under colonialism and apartheid.

"The acceleration of land redistribution is necessary not only to redress a grave historical injustice, but also to bring more producers into the agricultural sector and to make more land available for cultivation." he said.

Xinhua