By Hassan Isilow
South African President Jacob Zuma said Friday his country’s constitution would have to be amended to allow for land restitution without compensation in order to address the historical injustices of apartheid.
The South African leader said the fundamental question at the center of the country's black population liberation struggle was to address land inequality.
“The fact remains that land hunger is real,” Zuma said in his address to the National House of Traditional Leaders in Parliament on Friday.
He said government was looking at two critical courses of action in order for the country to attain the goal of radical socio-economic transformation in relation to land reform.
“First we must undertake a pre-colonial audit of land ownership, use and occupation patterns,” he said.
Zuma had first made comments regarding the expropriation of land to accelerate the redistribution of land to the country's black majority a week ago.
Land is a contentious issue in South Africa, where much of it is still owned by members of the white community. The majority of blacks remain landless, 22 years after the end of the minority rule.
A similar project was undertaken by neighboring Zimbabwe. In 2000, land owned by white farmers was seized and some owners brutalized by youths associated to the ruling party.
In 2016, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe admitted that the country's controversial land reform program had been a failure.
Julius Malema, leader of the radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters party (EFF) has been urging supporters to grab white-owned land, a call government has condemned and said will not happen under its watch.
Seeking to reassure, Zuma added: “We do not support chaos and illegal land grabs. Actions must be informed by the Constitution and the laws of the land."