19 September 2018


ANC land summit takes firm decisions 

by: Nthusang Lefafa   date: 25 May 2018

A land summit convened by the African National Congress (ANC) has urged the governing party to adopt a more comprehensive and multi-pronged approach to land restitution as soon as possible. 
The two-day consultative land summit was held last weekend in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg. 

The summit called on the ANC to adopt a more comprehensive and multi-pronged approach that is based on the following steps:
1. Immediately use Section 25 of the Constitution to press ahead with expropriation of land in order to test the argument that the Constitution does permit expropriation without compensation in certain circumstances.
2. Immediately pass the Expropriation Bill and Land Redistribution Bill to bring greater clarity to the transformative intent and impact of the Constitution.
3. Ensure that the Constitutional review process is used to avoid ambiguity and bring greater clarity to Section 25(2)(B) of the Constitution, if it is found that the current legal formulations impede or slow down effective land redistribution.
The ANC believes that land redistribution is the only way to deal with poverty and the injustices of apartheid policies.
ANC President, Cyril Ramaphosa, was one of the keynote speakers at the land summit. 
“Land is about dignity, identity and security. It is also linked to culture and heredity. Like all economic resources, land has been used to serve the narrow interests of the minority in the country. For as long as control and management of land serves the interests of a few, South Africa will not be able to reach its full potential and we will not be able to heal the wounds of the past,” said Ramaphosa. 
He said if the land is not given to its rightful owners, South Africa would be unable to achieve the dream of a united and equal society. 
“Without the redistribution of land, we will not be able to build a united country. Without recognition of all the property rights of our people, we will not overcome inequality. If we do not give the poor a means to productively work and farm the land, we will not be able to defeat poverty. There is a strong moral, social and political imperative to carry out this process.
“To have placed 87% of land in the hands of the white minority and only 13% given to Africans, this was a clear intention by the apartheid regime to deter the progress of black South Africans. When you return land to those it was unfairly taken from, you are unlocking the economic potential of the country,” said Ramaphosa.
The ANC President said it is evident through the number of submissions made to Parliament over the land issue that urgent intervention is required. “Over 140 000 submissions have been made to Parliament from South Africans who come from all walks of life. There is no single solution to issues facing land redistribution. We will need to study experiences of other countries that have been able to successfully manage land reform. This crippling apartheid legacy requires intervention, however, the transition must be as smooth as possible so that it does not have an impact on food security”. 
The ANC adopted a resolution at its 54th National Conference in December that land should be expropriated without compensation. Last weekend’s land summit discussed recommendations on how land expropriation would be carried out.  The recommendations of the land summit will be taken to next weekend’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting for a final decision. 
The workshop proposed that the ANC proceed to affirm the amendment of Section 25 (2) (b) to immediately effect the principle of expropriation without compensation for public purpose and interest.
“The summit also received input from and noted the report of the Motlanthe High Level Panel [led by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe] on Assessment of Key Legislation & Acceleration of Fundamental Change, and recommended that the ANC further engage with the specific issues raised and the recommendations outlined in the report, including engagements with traditional leaders and communities living on communal land,” the ANC said in a statement. 
The party said the workshop outcomes document to the NEC would contain recommendations on accelerating urban land redistribution “so that we decisively change the apartheid geography of our cities and towns and unlock economic value in townships, villages and small dorpies.
“The recommendations identify the need for a South African agrarian revolution as a key component of land redistribution, promoting small holder farmers, and working together with emerging and existing farmers”. 
“The plight of farmworkers and labour tenants was also a particular issue of concern, as millions of them continue to face insecurity in the land of their birth.  The NEC will be asked to take decisions that will ensure that particular measures are taken to protect farm workers and dwellers, and that their continued precarious position in our society is addressed,” said the land summit recommendations.