Trevor Manuel says it’s hard to sell SA amid uncertainty over land

Trevor Manuel. Picture: Gallo Images/Foto24/Lisa Hnatowicz

The president appointed the former finance minister to seek investment for SA, but he says uncertainty over the land issue has made this a difficult task.

The National Assembly gave the go-ahead for section 25 of the Constitution to be amended to give effect to government policy of expropriating land without compensation in February.

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“The Constitution required us to draft a piece of legislation to create an instrument that would allow for judicial oversight, [but] we failed to actually produce the legislation required by the Constitution,” he continued.

Subsection 6 of section 25, which “Parliament must enact”, according to the Constitution, says: “A person or community whose tenure of land is legally insecure as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices is entitled, to the extent provided by an act of Parliament, either to tenure, which is legally secure, or to comparable redress.”

Manuel mentioned that while he acknowledged the public’s demand for farmland, “the bigger challenge in SA is actually urban land”, he said.

He said inadequate housing that led to informal settlements must be addressed.

Manuel also said section 26 of the Constitution, which requires the state to provide access to adequate housing, “hasn’t been dealt with”.

“And so in the process of inward migration and urbanisation, people basically just set up where they can, and many of the battles are actually about urban land.”

Challenges aside, Ramaphosa’s investment drive has already secured $10 billion each from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as R850-million investment from the United Kingdom.

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