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South Africa: ANC to push for land expropriation without compensation and decriminalising sex work

The African National Congress, the governing party in South Africa made a number of resolutions at its 54th elective conference, which include the decriminalisation of sex work and plans to push for amendments to the constitutional law to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation. The resolutions have been met with mixed emotions.



South Africa’s ruling party the African National Congress (ANC) made two major resolutions at its elective conference held in Nasreq.

One of the resolutions is to push for the change in the constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation, as long as it does not affect food production and the economy.

The party’s head of the economic transformation committee Enoch Godongwana said that the party agreed to the proposal, provided that it does not affect other sectors of the economy. The deadline for the policy change was not decided on.

Read: South Africa’s parliament approves land appropriation bill


Newly elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa in his maiden speech reiterated the message.

“This conference has resolved that the expropriation of land without compensation should be among the mechanisms available to the government to give effect to land reform and redistribution,” he said.

South Africa’s northern neighbour Zimbabwe, seized white-owned farmers in 2000 following years of a failed land redistribution programme.

The change in policy in South Africa needs the vote of the two-thirds of lawmakers. Already the ANC has 62 percent of seats in parliament and may get the support of Economic Freedom Fighters, which also backs the policy change.


Decriminalisation of sex work

The ANC also resolved to decriminalise sex work in a country where sex work is illegal and where sexual violence is high.

The decision came as a surprise as the party had in July this year rejected a proposal from the Gauteng delegates that called for a partial decriminalisation of sex work.

Read: Recriminalizing sex work in South Africa

Women rights organisations have welcomed the move, saying that it will protect sex workers against abuse and stigma.


“[Sex workers] can also contribute equally to the economy of South Africa, because they will have access to healthcare and will be treated with dignity and respect,” said Nhlanhla Mokoena, the executive director of People Opposing Women Abuse.

The policy is set to follow the New Zealand Law amongst other countries, which fully decriminalised sex work in 2003, making it legal for any citizen over 18 years old to sell sexual services. It also legalises street-based sex and running a brothel and protects the sex workers’ rights through employment and human rights legislation.