The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has said it supports the ongoing process to amend the Constitution to pave way for land expropriation without compensation.
"The ANC supports an amendment to the Constitution that would provide clarity on the circumstances under which expropriation of land without compensation could be effected," the party said.
The ANC's position is informed, among other things, by the views of the South African people in public hearings and by the members of the ANC, said Nonceba Mhlauli, ANC spokesperson in Parliament.
This came after the Constitutional Review Committee of Parliament met on Wednesday for the first time since concluding two-month-long public hearings on the Constitutional amendment to expropriate land without compensation.
The committee currently are preparing two reports to highlight the divergent views raised by the public in favor or against the amendment of the Constitution.
At Wednesday's meeting, the committee resolved not to allow political parties and government institutions an opportunity to make oral submissions, as informed by the conviction that the process of public participation is meant for parliament to listen to the views of South Africans, and not for parties already represented in Parliament to dominate proceedings.
The ANC in Parliament will therefore engage on this unfolding process in a manner that will ensure that land reform is implemented in a way that increases agricultural production, improves food security and ensures that the land is returned to those from whom it was taken under colonialism and apartheid, Mhlauli said.
As the ANC is accelerating land expropriation without compensation, opposition to this process is also mounting. Opponents argue that the ANC's move will drive away white farmers, kill jobs and threaten food security, just like what has happened in neighboring Zimbabwe where farming land seized by blacks has turned useless.
Earlier this month, AfriForum, an association of South African farmers, has launched an international campaign to get the South African government to stop its move to expropriate land without compensation.
Since taking power in 1994, the ANC-led government has made land redistribution from whites to blacks without compensation as one of its main policies. But land remains predominantly in white hands more than two decades after the end of apartheid, sparking growing discontent among South African blacks.