South Africa's Jacob Zuma outlines land reform plans

President Jacob Zuma’s government is under pressure to put more land in the hands of South Africa’s black majority

Foreigners will be banned from owning land in South Africa under new proposals outlined by President Jacob Zuma. Foreigners will only be allowed to lease land, he said.

Locals will have limits set on the size of their farms under the proposals. Local farmers would not be able to own more than 12,000 hectares.

President Zuma first announced them in a state of the nation speech on Thursday.

Two decades after the end of apartheid, land is still concentrated in the hands of a largely white minority, and remains a sensitive issue.

The government is under growing pressure to put more land in the hands of the country’s black majority.

“Land has become one of the most critical factors in achieving redress for the wrongs of the past,” said President Zuma, elaborating on the plans on Saturday.

“In this regard, the regulation of land holdings bill will be submitted to parliament this year.”

The proposed new limit on farm size is presumably aimed at white farmers who still own much of the best farmland a generation after the end of racial apartheid.

There are many reasons for the slow pace of change in the country and these new proposals will face strong legal challenges from farmers who argue that smaller plots will not be commercially viable.

However, the governing African National Congress is looking for votes, and is wary of being outflanked by more radical voices calling for white-owned land to be seized without compensation, he adds.

Source: BBC News – Home.