Land hunger real: Zuma

Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma

CAPE TOWN. – Just days after Parliament voted against land expropriation without compensation, President Jacob Zuma has again called for parties to work together on speeding up land restitution. The president was addressing the opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders in Parliament yesterday when he reiterated the calls to transform the country regarding land ownership.

“The fact remains that land hunger is real. This is not surprising, as this was the fundamental question at the centre of the liberation struggle.”

He said they had identified weaknesses in the land restitution and redistribution programme.

The land question was a central issue for traditional leaders, President Zuma said.

They were looking at two critical actions to deal with transformation in relation to land reform, he said.

“First, we must undertake a pre-colonial audit of land ownership, use and occupation patterns. Once the audit has been completed, a single law should be developed to address the issue of land restitution without compensation.”

The necessary constitutional amendments would then be undertaken to effect this process, President Zuma told the traditional leaders.

They were also looking at the possible redesign and establishment of the National Land Claims Commission as a Chapter 9 Institution, so that it could have the necessary powers to help reverse historical injustices.

This would also require a Constitutional amendment, Zuma said.

“Naturally, government and the governing party would want to ensure that this is an orderly process. We do not support chaos and illegal land grabs. Actions must be informed by the Constitution and the laws of the land.”

He urged South Africans to use land to produce food to fight hunger and poverty.

He told the traditional leaders that the government had committed itself to supporting black smallholder farmers.

“To date, an estimated amount of R2.5bn was made available for the provision of livestock feed, water infrastructure, drilling, equipping and refurbishment of boreholes, auction sales and other interventions.”

Work had been done by government, business, labour and academia to boost the agriculture sector, Zuma said.

“We have produced enough policy documents and Bills. Now is the time for action and not talking, writing or analysing.”

During the same event hosted by Speaker Baleka Mbete and NCOP chairperson Thandi Modise, Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota has asked Parliament that if South Africa now belongs to everyone, to whom then will land be redistributed?

Former ANC spokesperson Mac Maharaj was moderating the event, and posed the question to a panel of the original drafters of the Constitution why a small portion of the population feels negotiators “sold out” the Constitution.

During his allotted speech, Lekota and others addressed the question, saying thanks to both the Constitution and history, South Africa now belongs to everyone.

“So to whom did we sell out? Unless you don’t believe South Africa (belongs to all),” Lekota said.

“This Constitution is a product of all of us. The land some people want to take from others, you’ll be taking from our grandparents and great-grandparents.

“We’ve inherited all of that, the whole country.

“So please be careful. If you want to take our land from us, to whom are you going to give it?”

The theme was “My Constitution, My Rights, My Responsibilities.” – News24.

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