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Published On: Wed, Sep 10th, 2014

Africa land reform bill shelved

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Little land has been transferred to blacks since apartheid ended

South Africa has shelved legislation designed to speed up a land reform programme by allowing the government to expropriate white-owned farms.

A parliamentary committee blamed a lack of consultation and said it aimed to re-introduce the Bill at a later date.

The government says it wants to redistribute nearly one third of white-owned farmland by 2014.

At the end of apartheid in 1994, nearly 90% of land was owned by whites, who made up under 10% of the population.

But so far just 4% has been transferred to blacks.

Critics say the legislation would be unconstitutional as it would stop people going to court if their property was taken.

The expropriation bill, which aims to give the government greater powers to transfer land and property from existing owners, was introduced by the ruling ANC in April.

A committee statement said: “The decision [to shelve the bill] was reached after consultation with various stakeholders both within and outside parliament and in the interest of broader consultation and effective public participation.”

The South African government’s land restitution programme focuses on returning land to blacks that was seized by whites after 1913. However, earlier this year a think tank concluded that the scheme had failed.

Thousands of claims are still being processed across the country for land and property taken unlawfully from black owners during the apartheid era.

Source BBC

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