There could be no economic transformation without land reform, and laws – including the Constitution – need to be amended to allow expropriation without compensation, Pres. Zuma said in his annual address to the House of Traditional Leaders on Friday.

“The economy is not in our hands. We are not in control of economic power,” Zuma said, adding: “The central element of the economy is land.”

The president called for an audit that would draw a map of pre-colonial land ownership, followed by legislation that would allow expropriation without compensation.

“First we must undertake a pre-colonial audit of land ownership, use and occupation patterns. Once the audit has been completed, a single law should be developed to address the issue of land restitution without compensation.

“The necessary constitutional amendments would then be undertaken to effect this process,” he said.

The comment followed days after the ANC caucus in Parliament firmly opposed a motion tabled by the Economic Freedom Fighters to amend the Constitution to allow the expropriation of land without compensation.

Pres. Zuma added that government was considering turning the Land Claims Commission into a chapter 9 institution to enhance its powers.

“We are also looking at the possible re-design and establishment of the National Land Claims Commission as a Chapter 9 Institution, so that it can have the necessary powers to help us reverse this historical injustice.

“This would also require a Constitutional amendment.”