White farmers' legal fight against plans to give their land to black South Africans without compensation is thrown out by country's High Court
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South Africa's High Court rejected a legal challenge today brought by a group representing white farmers against President Cyril Ramaphosa's plans for land expropriation without compensation. Land is a hot-button issue in South Africa where racial inequality remains entrenched more than two decades after the end of apartheid when millions of the black majority were dispossessed of their land by a white minority.
Ramaphosa, who replaced scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma in February, has made land redistribution a flagship policy as he seeks to unite the fractured ruling African National Congress (ANC) and win public support ahead of an election next year. In its legal challenge, Afriforum questioned the legality of a key parliamentary committee report which recommended a change to the constitution to allow land expropriation without compensation.
'The relief sought by the applicants... is dismissed,' said Judge Vincent Saldanha.
Around 65 percent of public submissions were against a change, according to parliamentary officials.
Parliament successfully countered Afriforum's case by saying the court action was premature, the committee had not abrogated its powers and all views had been taken into account.