S. African president alleviates concern over communal land owned

11Jul 2018
The Guardian
S. African president alleviates concern over communal land owned

SOUTH African President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured that the ongoing efforts to expropriate land without compensation have never targeted communal land owned by tribal chiefs, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) said on Saturday.

The ANC issued the statement following a meeting between Ramaphosa and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini recently in KwaZulu-Natal Province.

The communal land is mainly held under the custodianship of traditional leaders for and in the interest of the people, the ANC quoted Ramaphosa as telling the king.

The communal land controlled by tribal chiefs constitutes about 13 percent of the total land in South Africa where the white minority owned most of the land.

Land being targeted for compensation is the remaining 87 percent and all expropriation undertakings will be lawful and in just accordance with the desires of the South Africans, Ramaphosa told Zwelithini at the meeting.

As the pace for land reform is gaining momentum, traditional leaders have voiced concern over the possibility of the land owned by tribal chiefs to be redistributed to landless blacks.

Some ANC leaders reportedly want to include land controlled by local chiefs in its plans to redistribute property to the black majority.

Earlier this week, Zulu King Zwelithini convened a meeting to discuss the government's land-expropriation plans. Zwelithini has in the past accused the government of trying to take land from his people.

"We have no intention to tamper with the land that is being administered by our chiefs on behalf of the people," Ramaphosa told Zwelithini.

Ramaphosa also addressed ANC volunteers following the meeting, assuring that neither the government nor the ANC had any intention of taking land from the Ingonyama Trust which it has custody of on behalf of the people of KwaZulu-Natal, according to Mabe.

The Ingonyama Trust is a corporate entity established to administer the land traditionally owned by the Zulu people.
An agreement was reached that further engagements on the land question would assist both parties going forward, Mabe added.

In February, the National Assembly passed a motion on expropriation of land without compensation, a move designed to accelerate land reform in South Africa.

The motion allows for the review of Section 25 of the Constitution and other clauses where necessary to sufficiently cater for the principle of land expropriation without compensation.

South Africa's economy contracted by 2.2 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared with the final quarter of last year, according to figures released by Statistics South Africa on Tuesday.

The poor performance was mainly attributed to a spectacular drop in the agricultural sector which shrank by 24.7 percent, the agency said.

Economists had expected a contraction of 0.5 percent quarter on quarter.

"The 2.2 percent fall is the largest quarter-on-quarter decline since the first quarter of 2009," said the agency.
Statistician-general Risenga Maluleke released the figures at a media briefing which also indicated that the mining sector fell by 9.9 percent; manufacturing sector fell by 6.4 percent and construction by 1.9 percent.

"South Africa is a consumption-driven economy, it is not unusual for a weak first-quarter GDP print given the high base set in the final quarter of the previous year," said FNB chief economist Mamello Matikinca.

"And one of the reasons for the extent of this weakness has been a sharp downtick in agricultural productions," he added.

Another economist, Wandile Sihlobo of Agbiz, said the negative effects of the Western Cape drought were evident in the first quarter GDP data.

Meanwhile, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will take advantage of the G7 Leaders' Summit Outreach to promote sustainable development in pursuit of the ocean economy, the Presidency said on Wednesday.

Ramaphosa has been invited to participate in the two-day session scheduled for June 8-9 in Quebec, Canada, under the theme Healthy, Productive and Resilient Oceans and Seas, Coasts and Communities, according to the Presidency.

Ramaphosa's participation in the G7 Leaders' Summit Outreach coincides with his drive to attract investment to grow the economy, create jobs and address poverty and inequality in South Africa, presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko said.

The focus of the G7 Outreach meeting is in line with the goals outlined in South Africa's National Development Plan (NDP) and speaks to the country's efforts to stimulate economic growth and job creation by unlocking the ocean economy through Operation Phakisa, a blueprint for developing the ocean economy, Diko said.

"There has been a realization that South Africa's long-term development goals cannot be reliant solely on land-based resources," he said.

With a sprawling coastline of 3,924 kiometers, the country's ocean and ocean resources form an integral part of the development mix under the NDP.

Development of the coastal space has been largely untapped and holds the potential to add an additional one million jobs and contribute up to 13.6 billion U.S. dollars to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country, Diko said.

South Africa seeks to achieve these goals through Operation Phakisa, which has also been adopted as part of the government's economic transformation agenda.

"South Africa remains dedicated to sustainable development in its pursuit of the oceans economy and the G7 Leaders' Summit Outreach provides an opportunity for the country to contribute globally to the management of the oceans, seas and coastal areas within an integrated environmental, economic and social approach." Diko said.

In the same vein, South Africa's Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Bulelani Magwanishe has led an investment road show in China in a bid to attract Chinese investment for South Africa's special economic zones (SEZs).The South African Department of Trade and Industry said on Wednesday that the Chinese business community showed some interest in the country's SEZs during the road show which was held in Shanghai this week.

"The trip presented officials from our SEZs with a golden opportunity to interact directly with the Chinese companies and present to them the value-propositions of our special economic zones," said Ikhraam Osman, CEO of Free State Development Corporation.

"There is a logistics company that showed interest in investing in the SEZ. This was the first contact and it means we need to have follow-up meetings to exchange more technical information that will assist them to make a decision about investing in our SEZ," said Osman.

The South Africans briefed their Chinese counterparts on the country's special economic zones and the opportunities and incentives, said Osman.

The project executive for the North West-based Platinum Valley SEZ, Davis Sadike, said that the trip was successful, and that the trip made him understand the success of the Chinese SEZ model and how it led to the country's economic growth.

"The interaction with the Chinese companies gave us a better understanding of their needs when it comes to investment in foreign projects," said Sadike.

"We managed to share specific information of our SEZ with two companies who are operating in the renewable energy and locomotives sectors," said Sadike.

"A good foundation has been laid for us to explore future discussions with these companies and others that we met," said Sadike.

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