Cape Town: Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti reiterated the proposal that foreign land ownership be regulated in South Africa. Speaking to journalists before tabling his budget vote in parliament yesterday, Nkwinti complained foreigners owned a "sizeable chunk" of South African land.
"You cannot ignore the fact that in South Africa you have got a sizeable chunk of land which is owned by foreigners," said Nkwinti, who said foreign land ownership was not allowed in countries such as Mozambique and China.
"Much as we want them to do so, we want foreign investment in our country but we also have to deal with the question that says how we share the land among the growing population," said Nkwinti.
He said it was a "privilege and not a right to own land in another country".
Nkwinti, who last year released a green paper on land reform, said he was crafting a policy that would stipulate terms of land ownership for foreigners.
"If we succeed in persuading the nation on this, you will have freehold...a part of that freehold will be subjected to the limited extent.
"You will have certain special conditions and obligations as a foreigner owning land in the country, meaning that as you buy or invest on land in our land, you will have to take into account the fact that we are transforming and a greater part of transformation is one of transferring land from white people to black people," he said.
Turning to the thorny issue of land expropriation, Nkwinti said a task team formed by officials from his department and Public Works was finalising the Expropriation Bill and it would soon be sent to parliament for processing. "We have a joint task team to deal with that question. Ourselves we are keen on this law," he said.
The bill was shelved in 2008 after objections that it was unconstitutional. The controversial draft legislation aims to allow the state to expropriate farms in the public interest, including for land reform.
At issue when the bill was shelved was whether government officials, rather than courts, should decide on the amount of compensation for owners of expropriated farms.
- Related article: Speech by the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Nkwinti, G. E. (MP) 2012 Policy Speech: Rural Development and Land Reform, Vote 32: it can be accessed here.