South Africa's parliament passed a motion to seize land from white farmers without paying them compensation.
Passed by an overwhelming majority of 241 votes to 83 votes against, the proposal to amend Section 25 of the constitution would allow expropriation of land without any financial recompense.
It was put forward by the radical left Economic Freedom Fighters [EFF] party, whose leader Julius Malema told the country's parliament: "We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land."
The ruling African National Congress [ANC] amended but supported the motion. The party has promised reforms to address the racial disparities in land ownership which persist more than two decades after the end of apartheid.
South Africa's new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, said he would speed up the transfer of land from white to black owners after his inauguration two weeks ago.
But he stressed it must be conducted in a manner which preserved food production and security.
Speaking to the National Council of Provinces in televised remarks earlier this week, Ramaphosa said he wants talks on the contentious topic to avoid panic.
But he said he aimed to resolve the issue of racial disparities in property ownership "once and for all."
In South Africa, corruption and lack of training for farmers remain obstacles to land redistribution.
The government's land reform policy has been criticized over the years as many farms transferred to emerging black farmers lay fallow and unproductive.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team