President Cyril Ramaphosa has told farmers to view the land reform programme as a positive thing. He said this while speaking to wine farmers during a campaign meeting in the Beyerskloof wine estate near Stellenbosch.
According to the president, farmers should be part of the solution; they should embrace change rather than see themselves as an island.
He further explained that South African farmers are good, but elaborated how the country came from a “very sad history, a terrible history, particularly on issues of land.”
Repeating his State of the Nation sentiments, Ramaphosa said that land was South Africa’s original sin. “It happened when Jan van Riebeeck first set foot here. The future is a good future if we all work together,” he said.
According to Ramaphosa, some farmers have found ways to solve the problems caused by the terrible past. The results have been a brighter future for their workers.
“Let us look at land reform in a positive way, rather than a negative way.”
A bill set to be introduced in parliament looks to amend the law to allow the expropriation of land without compensation. Ramaphosa said that law makers should find practical methods of implementing it. In his view, the bill is “quite progressive.”
Since the land reform process is going to be guided by the constitution, Ramaphosa told farmers they should not fear it as it will work for both the owners of land and the landless.
“The land reform process is something we should never fear. It is going to be done in terms of the Constitution.”
Ramaphosa also addressed the challenge of land evictions in the Western Cape, saying that land owners should treat farm workers more humanely.