S. Africa govt considering ban on foreigners owning land

Friday February 12 2016

President Jacob Zuma (right) and Vice President

President Jacob Zuma (right) and Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa. AFP 

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The South African government is considering imposing a ban on foreign nationals owning land, President Jacob Zuma said in a state of the nation speech to parliament Thursday.

The Regulation of Land Holdings Bill would place a ceiling on land ownership at a maximum of 12,000 hectares (30,000 acres) and "would prohibit foreign nationals from owning land," Zuma said.

Foreigners would instead be allowed to hold "long term leases," he added.

The draft bill will be presented to the South African cabinet "in the first semester of the year".

It's not the first time such a ban has been broached, but the draft bill is the first concrete move towards enacting it.

Land reform is one of the key issues in the national debate on redressing the inequities of the former Apartheid system, which banned black South Africans from owning land.

South Africa's radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party is calling for land to be seized from white owners without compensation.

EFF members walked out of Zuma's state of the nation address Thursday after repeatedly interrupting his speech.