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South Africa passes bill aiming to return land to blacks

South Africa passes bill aiming to return land to blacks

South Africa

South Africa’s parliament has approved a bill allowing the government to expropriate land in the public interest.

The new measure will allow a compulsory purchase of lands and give more ownership to blacks.

As a result of colonial dispossession and apartheid, 87 percent of South African land is owned by whites and only 13 percent by blacks.

The governing party ANC said the law would tackle injustices imposed by white-minority rule.
However, the main opposition Democratic Alliance opposed the bill.

According to the BBC South Africa, land is an emotive issue in the Southern African country 22 years after the end of apartheid.

President Jacob Zuma is expected to sign the bill into law, a move that could take weeks or months.

Under the new law, the state will be able to expropriate land in the “public interest” paying the owner a value determined by government adjudicator.

About 10 percent of land belonging to whites in the country has been transfered to black owners since the end of apartheid, representing only a third of ANC’s target.

President Zuma and his party have said that the land distribution has to take place within the framework of the law.