Speaking at the end of the party’s elective conference Wednesday night, the ANC president said this move, however, would be carefully carried out in order not to plunge the country in chaos as happened in neighbouring Zimbabwe.
The land to be grabbed from whites will be idle land which has no farming activities on it, he said, warning that South Africans should refrain from squatting on such lands to enable the government carry out an orderly exercise.
This is a new policy for the ANC, which had always maintained that land will only be taken from those willing to selling in the so-called “willing seller-willing buyer” practice, which has failed completely to return the land to the majority black population.
According to observers, the change in land policy was made to pre-empt the Julius Malema led opposition Economic Freedom Fighters’ main platform which wants to grab land from white landowners without paying them any compensation because “they came here with no land.”
During his closing speech, Ramaphosa also launched a thinly veiled attack on his party predecessor and State President Jacob Zuma, saying that under his administration the ANC would not be “a party of words but a party of action.”
"Those who are deployed by our movement should always be a source of pride and not a source of embarrassment. They are deployed so that they can bring us closer to the national democratic society to which we aspire," he said.
He vowed to eradicate corruption.
Ramaphosa failed to mention state capture by name, only saying that the conference dealt with difficulties brought by corrupt individuals through the exercise of influence and manipulation of governance.
This, he said, led to the weakening of state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
"We are going to revamp our SOEs. Given all these challenges, we are called upon to act against corruption. We are also called upon to act against collusion and other economic crimes prevalent in both public sector, as well as the private sector," he added.
Ramaphosa delivered his closing address in the wee hours of Thursday morning, with a lot of empty chairs, especially from the area allocated to KwaZulu-Natal delegates who supported his rival, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the former African Union Commission chair.
Analysts are predicting a tense relationship between Zuma as head of state, and Ramaphosa now heading the ANC at Luthuli House, the party’s head office in Johannesburg.
Quickly after his veiled attack on Zuma, Ramaphosa then praised the former ANC leader for his work on HIV/Aids and his story-telling skills.