The National Assembly on Tuesday set in motion a process to amend the Constitution so as to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.
The motion, brought by the EFF leader Julius Malema, was adopted with a vote of 241 in support, and 83 against.
The only parties who did not support the motion were the DA, Freedom Front Plus, Cope and the ACDP.
The matter will now be referred to the Constitutional Review Committee which must report back to Parliament by August 30.
The EFF’s motion originally called for the establishment of an ad hoc committee, which had to report back to the National Assembly by the end of May, but the ANC suggested an amendment, which was supported by the EFF.
There will be a public participation process in the Constitutional Review Committee’s work.
Opening the debate on his motion, Malema said: “The time for reconciliation is over. Now is the time for justice.”
He said they did not seek revenge on white people, but a restoration of black people’s dignity, which was deeply rooted in the land.
Gugile Nkwinti, who was minister of rural affairs and land reform until Monday evening (now minister of water affairs), said: “The ANC unequivocally supports the principle of land expropriation without compensation.”
“There is no doubt about it, land shall be expropriated without compensation.”
DA MP Thandeka Mbabama said there was an indisputable need to right the wrongs of the past, but expropriation without compensation “cannot be part of the solution”.
She said it was used to divert attention away from the ANC’s failures with land reform, and was a “lie peddled by the ANC, who fears being outflanked on the left by the EFF”.
‘We want to redress an historic injustice’
Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald asked what would happen to the land once it was expropriated.
“If you continue on this course, I can assure you there is going to be unforeseen consequences that is not in the interest of South Africa,” he warned.
Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota said there “is a danger that those who think equality in our lifetime equates that we must dominate whites”.
“This is the PAC of ’59, it’s no longer the African National Congress,” he said as he left the podium.
Rural Affairs and Land Reform Deputy Minister Mcebisi Skwatsha said the ANC was committed to building an equal society.
“You should not make the mistake that we want to oppress whites,” he said. “We want to redress an historic injustice.
“We want to take everybody along in achieving an equitable society.”
Agang MP Andries Tlouamma said: “Those who have taken our land by force, Jesus Christ must reject them.”
He urged the ANC to “develop a backbone of steel and stop speaking with a forked tongue”.
CAPTION:EFF Leader Julius Malema