President Cyril Ramaphosa has told investors that there is nothing to fear about land expropriation in South Africa as South Africa is not a “banana republic”.
A number of illegal land occupations have taken place in Gauteng and other parts of the country as communities grow impatient with government’s inability to fast-track land expropriation, resulting in law enforcement agencies having to demolish structures erected by disgruntled communities.
Ramaphosa was addressing investors at the Goldman Sachs conference in Westcliff in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
“Investors should not be worried about this, they should not even have a headache about it,” Ramaphosa said.
He assured the packed room of investors and business people that South Africa was governed by the rule of law and land restoration would be peaceful.
He also alluded to the sensitivity of the matter, reminding those in attendance that the differences of opinion around land restoration almost derailed democracy during peace talks with the apartheid government.
Ramaphosa said government seizures of land would never happen in South Africa.
“There’s just no way we can invite foreign investors to come to our country saying ‘come and invest’ and then tomorrow we take your land away. That is not going to happen.”
The president said the process would start with the identification of available state-owned land and made assurances that expropriation would be conducted in an orderly manner.