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S. African land shall be shared: president
Last Updated: 2018-06-08 04:13 | Xinhua
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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday reaffirmed the need to pursue the expropriation of land without compensation, saying "the land shall be shared" by those who work it.

"The land should never have been and will not be reserved for one group of South Africans," the president said at the centenary celebration of the Afrikanerbond in Paarl outside Cape Town.

The Afrikanerbond, an Afrikaner political organization that was effectively the first political party in South Africa, was founded in 1880. The organization aims to promote Afrikaner economic, political and cultural interests, especially the interests of Afrikaner farmers.

Ramaphosa took the opportunity to expound the land policy adopted by the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

He said the aim of the ANC-led government must be to ensure that all those who work the land and who need land should be equally able to have land.

The ANC took a resolution at its 54th National Conference in December last year to accelerate the process of land reform.

Since taking power in February, Ramaphosa has repeatedly pledged to implement the ANC's controversial policy on land reform, generating a heated debate in South Africa, where a minority of whites own most of the land.

In his Thursday remarks, Ramaphosa said the ANC policy should not be seen as a threat to South African whites, particularly white farmers.

Among the measures that the government should use where appropriate is the expropriation of land without compensation, he said.

This policy "provides us with an opportunity to move together with purpose and determination to address one of the most contentious issues in our country's history," Ramaphosa said.

By restricting the ownership and use of land to a small minority over many decades, the apartheid government made sure that the country would never realize the full potential of this valuable resource, Ramaphosa said.

"It is our responsibility to unlock the economic value of the land. It is our collective responsibility to deal with and reduce poverty and inequality," the president said.

He pointed to the fact that the removal of the majority of South Africans from their land was the source of the poverty and inequality in the country.

Several established white farmers have found ways of sharing the land with farm workers, labor tenants and neighboring communities without waiting for the government to act, according to Ramaphosa.

"We commend their efforts and call on others to follow their lead," he said.

The ANC-led government has been criticized for failing on its ambitious land reform target of transferring 30 percent of white-owned land to black farmers by 2014.

This was a promise made by the ANC when it took power in 1994.

According to the government, only 8 million hectares of arable land has been transferred to black people since 1994, less than 10 percent of the 82 million hectares available and a third of the ANC's 30-percent target.

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