South Africa’s push for the right to seize land without compensation won’t target property that belongs to black citizens or is controlled by traditional leaders, according to Zweli Mkhize, the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs.
Lawmakers started a process to change the constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation in February after the ruling party decided last year to adopt the measure as a policy to speed up giving black people more land. Access to land is one of the symbols of inequality in the nation of about 56 million where wealth and poverty are largely divided along racial lines.
The government met with representatives of the National House of Traditional Leaders over the group’s concerns about the planned redistribution process, Mkhize’s ministry said in an emailed statement on Friday.
“A wrong impression has been created that the discussion on land expropriation includes land in the hands of traditional leaders,” said Mkhize. “When government talks about land expropriation, we are referring to the 87 percent of the land, not the 13 percent that is under the control of traditional leaders and black people.”