South Africa may restrict foreign land ownership: Zuma

South Africa plans to overhaul its underperforming reforms.

Updated: Jan 09, 2011, 14:03 PM IST

Johannesburg: South African President Jacob Zuma on Saturday said foreign land ownership may be restricted in a bid to revive lagging reforms to transfer land to the black majority.

Zuma was speaking at the 99th anniversary of his ruling African National Congress (ANC) in an address that also stressed economic transformation and more jobs ahead of local elections later this year.

"In order to have more land available for land reform and restitution, government is looking at three forms of land holding," he said.

"These are state land that can only be held through leasehold, freehold with limited extent on private land, and foreigners will be allowed to lease land but ownership will revert to South Africans."

South Africa plans to overhaul its underperforming reforms, that once aimed to transfer 30 percent of land held by whites during the racist apartheid rule to blacks by 2014, but new legislation has been repeatedly delayed.

"Restoration of the land to the people has always been an integral part of the struggle for freedom," Zuma told the celebrations in the northern town of Polokwane.

"Land reform will now be based on the de-racialisation of the rural economy."

Zuma, whose party faces pressures over rampant joblessless and service delivery, said economic transformation was key for the benefits of democracy to be shared and for job creation.

"Political emancipation without economic transformation is meaningless," he said, saying the wealth of the country should be shared by all.

Tasked with fighting an official jobless rate of 25.2 percent, which unofficial figures put at above 40 percent, Zuma said black South Africans were most affected by widening poverty and inequality, he said.

"2011 will be the year of job creation through meaningful economic transformation," he said in the party`s annual statement.

"We still have unacceptable high levels of poverty and inequality."

Zuma also unveiled new education financing for needy students in their final year of university which will convert to a full bursary if they graduate.

The ANC has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Bureau Report