CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - A South African parliamentary committee considering whether the constitution needs to be changed to allow land to be taken without compensation has asked for a delay until November because it has been inundated by thousands of submissions.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has moved to allay market and investor fears over land reform after parliament passed a motion in February to hasten the transfer of land from white to black owners.
More than two decades after the end of apartheid, whites still own most of South Africa’s land and ownership remains a highly emotive subject ahead of next year’s national election.
The Joint Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) had been due to finalize its recommendations by Friday on whether Section 25 of the constitution, which deals with property rights, should be amended to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.
It has embarked on a countrywide roadshow to hear the views of South Africans on whether the government should depart from its “willing buyer, willing seller” approach to land redistribution.
“We have requested three to four weeks’ extension, which will take us into November,” Lewis Nzimande, co-chairman of the committee, told Reuters.
If a recommendation was made for the constitution to be changed, then further public consultations would need to be held as part of the legislative process, he said.
“These processes will go into the new year but our process as the CRC will conclude by early November,” Nzimande added.
Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Alexander Winning