Comprehensive land reform necessary for country to move forward

Friday, September 07, 2018

Deputy President David Mabuza says a comprehensive land reform programme to address past injustices is necessary for the country to move forward.

The Deputy President said this when he fielded questions in the National Council of Provinces on Thursday.

The debate over land expropriation without compensation continues to take centre stage, with British Minister Theresa May recently becoming the latest international leader to back the programme based on its transparency and democratic nature.

“As government, we have engaged in a process that is transparent, responsible and one that provides required leadership on how we finalise land expropriation without compensation.

“Comprehensive land reform as a means of addressing past injustices that have produced the prevailing triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality is necessary for our country to move forward as a nation that is united in its diversity.

“Without this historic redress, we risk having endless social, racial and class frictions,” he said.

Mabuza said this as hearings on the possible review of Section 25 of the Constitution commenced in the National Assembly on Thursday.

The Deputy President said South Africans should pursue national unity, peace and reconciliation to pave the way to the reconstruction of society.

“Our common desire should be to ensure that all us, including corporate citizens, participate and cooperate in the self-driven reconstruction and development of South Africa.

“There is general acceptance that the goals we defined for ourselves as we adopted the Constitution have not been fully realised. Currently, the situation demands of us to act together more than before and to resolve our national challenge of inequality and wealth disparities, which in the main are derived from land dispossession and landlessness,” he said.

Mabuza said skewed ownership patterns of land should mobilise all justice-seeking people and equality activists to continue in the building of a united and prosperous South Africa, anchored on the values of the Constitution.

“We must confront the historical fault lines and injustices that continue to threaten our peace and stability so that finally we can move forward as one people, one nation and one South Africa founded on shared values.

“The reality is that our land reform programme, in its current construct, remains hopelessly inadequate to mitigate the negative impact of the legacy of colonialism and apartheid. This state of affairs continues to be a huge source of frustration and resentment to those who were brutally dispossessed of their land.

“It is therefore imperative for us to execute a comprehensive land reform programme which, in its implementation, will enable us to truly transform our country into a non-racial, non-sexist, humane and equal society. Our land reform programme must exhaust all available mechanisms to address the past injustices.

“Our land reform programme has been very slow, causing a lot of frustration amongst claimants due to budgetary constraints and a ‘willing buyer-willing seller’ approach. The land reform programme, in its current shape, is clearly unable to meet even the modest and conservative targets that we have set for ourselves,” he said.