Gwede Mantashe, chairman of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), backed the party’s controversial proposals for land expropriation.
He said white farmers who own more than 12,000 hectares of land should be forced to hand over their share to the government.
Under the ANC’s radical plans, this land would then be redistributed, with priority given to black farmers.
Mr Mantashe said: «You shouldn’t own more than 12,000 hectares of land. Therefore, if you own more, it should be taken without compensation.»
People who are privileged never give away privilege
Speaking to South Africa’s News 24 website, he said white farmers «will not allow» the state to take their land.
As a result, he said, the country’s constitution should be amended to push through the policy.
He said: «They will not allow you. People who are privileged never give away privilege as a matter of a gift.
«And that is why we say, to give you the tools, revisit the constitution so that you have a legal tool to do it.
«The responsibility of coming on board is with us and with them.»
The issue of land ownership remains a highly emotive subject in South Africa more than two decades after the end of apartheid.
According to the government, 72 percent of private land is owned by white people, with just four per cent owned by black people.
Other ethnic groups account for the other 24 percent of land.
Mr Mantashe urged «all rational parties» in parliament to support the ANC’s proposed amendment to the constitution.
However, some experts fear the proposals could threaten the country’s food security and slow down economic growth.
AfriForum, an influential lobby group, recently warned the government its plans would be «catastrophic».
Ian Cameron, the group’s spokesman, said: «We’re really heading for a state of anarchy if something doesn’t change drastically.»