Expropriation without compensation will only happen with land that is acquired illegally, Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said on Friday.
"The expropriation that we have now is unconstitutional and that act needs to be brought in line with the Constitution," she told reporters at the ANC policy conference in Midrand.
"We do not need to change the Constitution for this. Expropriation without compensation will only happen when land was acquired illegally. Only the court will determine whether land was acquired illegally, so there will be no indiscriminate expropriation."
She said the conference had decided that the "willing buyer, willing seller" approach to land restitution would be dropped.
Instead land expropriation would be done in terms of the "just and equitable" requirement of section 25 of the Constitution.
Joemat-Pettersson said the section was a property clause that "allows us to do exactly we wanted to do [with land]".
She said the conference had not set any goals for expropriation, but would rather wait for the land audit to be completed at the end of the year.