Mantashe says farm land ownership should be capped at 12,000 hectares

Chairman of the ANC, Gwede Mantashe, was quoted as saying the state should take land without compensation from those who own more than 12,000 hectares.

“You shouldn’t own more than 12,000 hectares of land and therefore if you own more, it should be taken without compensation,” Mantashe was quoted saying by News24, reports Reuters.

Under his proposal, all white farmers who owned more than the stipulated 12,000 hectares would give over ownership of the rest of their land to the state, who would then redistribute it, prioritising successful black farmers currently working on communal land.

When asked whether white farm owners would allow the state to take their land, he said: “They will not allow you. People who are privileged never give away privilege as a matter of a gift, and that is why we say, to give you the tools, revisit the Constitution so that you have a legal tool to do it.

Reuters noted that it was not immediately clear whether Mantashe’s comments represented official ANC policy, and other key party officials did not respond to comment.

It added that Mantashe’s suggested 12,000 hectare land ownership limit was previously mooted in 2016, by then-rural development minister Gugile Nkwinti.

But Nkwinti said the government would seek to buy, not expropriate without compensation, land from those owning more than 12,000 hectares.

The rand fell more than 3% against the dollar, partly weakened by Mantashe’s comments, as well as a report by Moody’s ratings agency on the struggling economy and a resurgent dollar, which struck a 13-month peak.

At 16h20 the rand was trading at R14.70 to the dollar.

Read: Rand sinks again – this time it’s Naspers and Moody’s

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Mantashe says farm land ownership should be capped at 12,000 hectares