Daily Dispatch

ANC keen to curb foreign land ownership

- By THABO MOKONE

MIINISTER of Rural Developmen­t and Land Reform Gugile Nkwinti has reiterated a proposal that foreign land ownership be regulated in South Africa.

Speaking to journalist­s before tabling his budget vote in parliament yesterday, Nkwinti bemoaned the fact a “sizeable chunk” of South African land was owned by foreigners.

He said the government was strongly being lobbied to review its policies on foreign land ownership and argued this was a potential stumbling block to land reform and redistribu­tion.

“You cannot ignore the fact in South Africa you have a sizeable chunk of land which is owned by foreigners,” said Nkwinti who pointed out foreign land ownership was not allowed in countries such as Mozambique and China.

“Much as we want them to do so – we want foreign investment in our country – but we also have to deal with the question that says how we share the land among the growing population.”

He said it was a “privilege and not a right to own land in another country”.

Nkwinti, who last year released a green paper on land reform, said he was crafting policy that would stipulate under which conditions foreigners could own South African land.

Turning to the thorny issue of land expropriat­ion, Nkwinti said a task team formed by officials from his department and public works was finalising the expropriat­ion bill and it would soon be sent to parliament for processing.

“We have a joint-task team to deal with that question. We are keen on this law,” he said.

The controvers­ial bill was shelved in 2008 after objections it was unconstitu­tional.

At issue when the bill was shelved was whether government officials, rather than the courts, should decide on the amount of compensati­on for owners of expropriat­ed farms.

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