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Ramaphosa assures Moody’s on land reform

Goldman Sachs says issue is unnerving markets.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told ratings agency Moody’s on Wednesday that a drive to expropriate land without compensation would be done in a way that would not harm the economy or food security, the presidency said on Wednesday.

Land ownership remains a highly emotional subject more than two decades after apartheid’s demise. Now the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is aiming to change the constitution to allow white-owned property to be taken without payment, for redistribution to landless blacks.

Ramaphosa also told Moody’s that failure to create jobs was the biggest threat to the SouthAfrican economy, the presidency said in a statement.

South Africa has a jobless rate of over 25% and remains scarred by glaring income and ownership disparities that run mostly along racial lines, fuelling social unrest.

“President Ramaphosa reaffirmed that accelerated land reform will unfold within a clear legal framework and without negatively affecting economic growth, agricultural production and food security,” the presidency said.

Read Unused land is main target of SA’s expropriation plan

Moody’s will announce its latest outlook on South Africa on March 23; it is now the only major ratings agency that has kept South Africa‘s credit rating at investment grade. S&P and Fitch cut their ratings to sub-investment grade last year, after then-president Jacob Zuma fired Pravin Gordhan as finance minister.

The land issue is now high on investor radar screens, muting some of the euphoria over Ramaphosa’s replacement of the scandal-tinged Zuma, who was forced from office last month by the ANC.

Goldman Sachs’ Africa director Colin Coleman said earlier on Wednesday that South Africa was in a “very good position” but warned that the land drive was unnerving markets.

The policy would mainly target unused land, a senior ANC official said on Tuesday.

Most land is still in white hands in South Africa, but estimates vary. The government says blacks only own 4% of private land; farm groups and analysts say much state and communal land could be transferred.

Positive outlook

Ramaphosa, a former trade unionist turned business tycoon, is still enjoying a honeymoon with the markets and corporations.

South Africa‘s future is looking “a lot more positive” since Ramaphosa succeeded Zuma last month, Anglo American’s Chief Executive Mark Cutifani said on Wednesday.

Read SA business leaders upbeat as Ramaphosa rings changes

Mining companies and South Africa‘s government have been at loggerheads for years over legislation that the industry warns could deter investment by changing the requirements for black ownership of private firms.

The new mining minister, Gwede Mantashe, last week pledged to finalise the latest version of the charter within three months. Cutifani said companies had a positive meeting with him this week.

“It was a great meeting. A meeting that we’ve been looking for, for probably two to three years,” Cutifani told a conference in Cape Town.

“We’ve continued to invest in South Africa, we believe in the future of South Africa and from our point of view it just got a lot more positive.”

Markets have reacted positively since Ramaphosa became the leader of the ANC in December, before he become head of state last month. The rand has gained 7% against the US dollar since Ramaphosa took over. 

COMMENTS   8

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Twee gesig

Cyril/ANC’s stance on land reform are irresponsible. Even if it will never happen it creates false expectations from the masses and EFF.

“Now the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is aiming to change the constitution to allow white-owned property to be taken without payment, for redistribution to landless blacks”,…nothing will change, and the proof, the ANC with Ramaphosa in front have no idea how to get SA out of the mess they put SA in. The denial that none of their policies in 24 years had any positive effects. ANC one of the biggest race-first syndromes this country had ever had. Same corrupt useless bunch.

…as you say, with the past ANC failures, there is no better way to drum up votes for 2019, than the land issue 😉

I wish Ramaphosa (or anyone in the ANC) can tell me what exactly they mean by “LAND”……….????

You wish to take from the white that has no influence on the current black status to compensate for your miss perception of the past, but you don’t take from the black that are currently causing a variety of problems to all of SA. I spoke to a few black people that is financially stable with their own land, they mentioned to me how hard they worked for what they have today and that they came from townships, just wow these stories. I on the other hand didn’t get anything from my an-sisters. I have to work hard for what I want.

Wish you could open your miss per-sieved eyes and try for a future, because living in the past doesn’t help.

With Moody’s downgrade us to “Junk” so that you can see what is happening.

You are taking for white people, what we worked so hard to get. Don’t come crying for help when the economy of SA worsens (and it will), we wont help because you never listened to us.

We will not fix the country if you continue on this road…

It will just harm whites so hey presto no harm to the economy!

Now why did I not think of that?

The commander of the Serb army told Bosnians not to worry then calmly slaughtered all the men and boys . Cyril’s comments remind me of this

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