Johannesburg – The African National Congress is putting emphasis on the need to speed up land redistribution amid increasing pressure from opposition players such as the EFF and Numsa.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe on Wednesday said the ruling party was calling for a cap on land ownership in the country.

“Lekgotla has resolved that there should be a ceiling on land ownership of a maximum 12 000 hectares or two farms for both natural and all forms of legal persons,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.

“Land ownership by foreign nationals will also be prohibited.”

However, they would be able to access land through leaseholds.

The party wants a compulsory declaration of land holdings.

Mantashe was briefing media following the ANC’s three-day national executive committee meeting, or lekgotla, held in Pretoria this week.

The ANC called for more decisive and interventionist leadership from government on land redistribution.

“The ANC has committed that land will be returned to our people and government must move with the necessary speed to put legislation in place to effect this,” Mantashe said.

“Government is expected to elaborate on the 50/50 policy framework,” Mantashe said.

He called on people to support initiatives such as where a portion of farm land is given to farmworkers.

EFF wants land grabs

The Economic Freedom Fighters has advocated for radical land reform and land grabs. At its elective conference in December, the party called for the invasion of unoccupied land in the country. The party’s commission on land and agrarian reform said those who had lodged land claims should occupy the claimed land.

Last year November there was an attempted “land grab” in Nellmapius, east of Pretoria. This month there were reports of land grabs in Zamdela, Sasolburg in the Free State supported by the EFF.

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA has also been calling for radical land reform. The union, which was expelled from the Congress of SA Trade Unions last year, formed the United Front.

The United Front could see a new political party form, which would contest next year’s local government elections.

Mantashe on Wednesday said the ANC is emphasising improved local government and service delivery.

The lekgotla called on government to remove unqualified people from top municipal jobs.

“Government is called upon to conduct a skills audit and remove those people who occupy positions they do not qualify for,” he said.

“The ANC must publicly and decisively deal with poor performance and corruption.”

Mantashe said the ANC wants to strengthen accountability and political management. He said a history teacher could not be appointed as a chief financial officer, for example.

During the lekgotla the ANC discussed the energy crisis. Mantashe said the strain on the power grid is due to economic growth and development.