Roelf Meyer, an apartheid-era NP politician who later went on to become a key negotiator in the transition from apartheid to democracy and co-founded the UDM with Bantu Holomisa, told eNCA’s Jane Dutton that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans for land expropriations had the interests of all South Africans at heart.
“I can’t speak for the president, he’s in a challenging situation every day, and I’m not in that space. I can sit here as a commentator, and that’s all,” Meyer said, replying to a question on whether Ramaphosa embraced land expropriation without compensation as a purely political decision.
“He’s looking at the interests of South Africans at large. I believe he has those interests at heart,” he continued.
Meyer and Ramaphosa became friends during the negotiation process, and the ex-politician is known as a supporter of Ramaphosa when it comes to most issues, including land.
He was recently one of the driving forces behind a land summit held at the Gordon Institute of Business (Gibs) in Pretoria, where speakers included former president Kgalema Motlanthe, retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke and ex-politician, activist and farmer Jay Naidoo.
Meyer stressed that the Ramaphosa administration’s version of expropriation without compensation would not threaten property rights.
He also asserted his belief that most South African farmers would support the process.
“I think farmers have already indicated across the country and in all sectors of the agricultural environment their willingness to cooperate, to collaborate in a broad sense in making this happen,” he said.
Meyer said the proposed changes to section 25 of the Constitution were only meant to “bring in a clearer context for the enabling” of land redistribution.
He added Ramaphosa made very specific use of the concept of equitable distribution of land and that the president wanted the process to take place in a manner that is “fair and impartial”.
According to Meyer, the failure of land redistribution was a matter of implementation and could not be blamed on the Constitution.
“What was intended by the Constitution has not been fulfilled, has not been implemented, and now we suddenly find ourselves in a situation where people are looking up and saying it’s the Constitution’s fault. It’s not, it’s the fact of implementation that didn’t take place, and I think this is what is now being addressed,” he said.