South African Deputy President David Mabuza said on Monday that resolving the land question will contribute to building unity, social cohesion and a sense of nationhood.
Delivering the government's Christmas message to his countrymen, Mabuza highlighted the importance of land reform, saying this issue "goes to the heart of our very being and our heritage."
Land reform will unite the nation, Mabuza said, refuting criticism that the issue has divided South Africans.
The country has managed to rise above criticism, he said.
"In addressing these and other challenges, we believe that unity is an important pillar of building an equal society that we shall all strive for," said Mabuza.
"Unity shall be our lifelong pursuit for the sake of future generations," he added.
As South Africans close this year, they do so with a sense of comfort and encouragement that they are making great strides in resolving the important issue of land, Mabuza said.
The year of 2018 has been a challenging and productive one in which South Africans "showed our resilience as a nation," Mabuza said.
The land issue has been a contentious topic throughout 2018 that saw the government accelerating its land reform program unprecedentedly.
There have been divisive and acrimonious debates on land reform, particularly on the call for land expropriation without compensation.
Despite mounting criticism, both houses of parliament in November adopted a report in favor of amending section 25 of the constitution to pave way for land expropriation without compensation.
Various organizations and political parties, such as Congress of the People and the Democratic Alliance, recently threatened to approach the courts to prevent Parliament from passing a bill to legalize land expropriation without compensation.
In his Christmas message, Mabuza said people should close this year with optimism that 2019 will be a good year for the country.