President Jacob Zuma’s dangerous comments on land reform this morning, while addressing the National House of Traditional Leaders, point to a man who has no clear vision or policies of his own, only dangerous rhetoric. The President has gone rogue on land reform, contradicting both his own Cabinet and the ANC’s Parliamentary Caucus; and he should be reined in by his Party and by Parliament.
President Zuma states that the current Constitutional provisions are a hindrance to meaningful land reform. This is just a dishonest attempt to excuse the ANC’s own failures in government. In fact, it is corruption and bad policy that have been the greatest inhibitors to land redistribution and reform.
This past week, ANC Members of Parliament and Members of the Executive also articulated this view, saying that the Constitution needed to be actually implemented and adhered to, rather than discarded. Just this morning ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu said that “blaming the Constitution for the embarrassingly slow pace of land reform is both disingenuous and scapegoating”. The President’s comments this morning are clearly not in keeping with the Constitution, or indeed with the policies of his own Party.
In the DA-run Western Cape, the Constitution has been used as an enabler for successful land reform, not an inhibitor. The DA has delivered over 75 000 title deeds to beneficiaries since 2009, making these beneficiaries owners of the homes and land that where they live. This is meaningful land reform. A workable rural strategy, with no corruption, has resulted in a 62% success rate on all rural land reform farms. This is better than any other Province in the country, and there are budgetary provisions that have been made to ensure that even more is done.
This goes to show that with good governance, an understanding of the law and political will, land reform can meaningfully take place within the framework of the Constitution.
Today was a perfect opportunity for President Zuma to address the issue of land ownership in rural areas that fall under the jurisdiction of Traditional Leaders. He could have echoed the call made by King Zwelithini for security of tenure and title deeds for all rural residents living on communal land. But President Zuma is not interested in policies that help the people of South Africa. His only focus is on whipping up divisive emotions and explaining away the ANC’s corruption and failure to deliver.
The legacy of the 1913 Natives Land Act is still real for the majority of South Africans today, and President Zuma’s lawless and arbitrary contribution to this national issue will not work to redressing the land issue. President Zuma and the ANC do not have a vision for the people of South Africa and will do all they can to mislead the people. While the ANC s juggling contradictory positions, DA is working to ensure that we address the legacy of apartheid by building a better South Africa for all.