The following speech was delivered on the second day of Parliament’s debate of the 2019 State of the Nation Address.
Considering the hype around expropriation of land without compensation in the recent past, Madam Speaker, we would have expected President Ramaphosa, in his State of the Nation Address, to give us more clarity on time-frames and a high-level framework around the envisaged implementation process of this policy. The only relevant statement he made was the identification of state land parcels for redistribution, something the Democratic Alliance (DA) has always advocated. This lack of clarity points to an absence of consensus and direction in the ANC government around the policy of expropriation of land without compensation, proving that it is indeed being used as an election gimmick by the ANC, and something to rally around, thus creating a false sense of unity in the party.
Professor Ben Cousins writes, and I quote, “The expropriation without compensation debate is essentially a distraction. It is not the main issue in land reform. The real question is: who do we want to give land to? For what purposes? How are they going to hold that land – with what property rights? And how are we going to support them? How do we secure the rights of the 60% of South Africans who hold land and housing outside the formal system?”.
He hits the nail on the head as a majority of South Africans already own land under customary, communal and traditional law in our rural areas. As Professor Cousins opines the challenge is to formalise these customary land holdings using a recordal system that will “give legal recognition and support to existing local processes”. Amending the Constitution will not have any beneficial impact on these rural communities.
By promoting a populist stance on expropriation without compensation, the EFF-led corrupt coalition with the ANC is furthering a narrative that says the majority of black people are hungry for agricultural land. Nothing could be further from the truth. 92% of land claimants chose monetary compensation over land in the finalised restitution claims between 1995 and 2014. Most of the farms that were transferred to claimants as going concerns are now lying fallow due to a lack of post-settlement support from the ANC, and a lack of knowledge, resources and passion to farm from the claimants.
Icace gca ukuba abantu bakuthi bafuna imisebenzi, bafuna unikezelo ngenkonzo ezifana namanzi, umbane, iindlela, iclinic, bafuna abantwana babo bafumane imfundo esemgangathweni, bakwafuna nokhuseleko, nokunqandwa korhwaphilizo. Ewe siyavuma, abantu mababuyiselwe imhlaba yokhokho babo, kodwa imidaka emininzi ifuna ookwezindlu ezibhadlileyo netitile zazo! Urhulumente we ANC woyisakele! Kuleminyaka emashumi amabini nesihlanu abantu basahlala emikhukhwini ngeloxesha iDepartment ye Public Works ihleli nezakhiwo ezixabisa R7,5 billion yamarand ezingahlali mntu. Kutheni zingalungiswa nje zinikwe abantu abadingayo?
The Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) report into widespread and endemic corruption in the government’s land reform programme, is yet more proof that we don’t have a Constitutional problem, we have an ANC problem. The SIU report has been gathering dust on President Ramaphosa’s desk for nearly a year, confirming that he has no intention of fixing the rampant corruption and real issues in land reform. The President is in denial that this policy has had, and will continue to have, a negative impact on investment. This, despite concrete examples from countries that have walked this path before, such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
This is why the DA opposes the amendment of our precious Bill of Rights. And we will continue to fight it in the highest court in the land. The DA will not allow the ANC and the EFF to trample on the rights of South Africans. If we want to steer South Africa on a better path we need to send a clear message this year that corruption will not be rewarded. Sonele! We need to expropriate power from the ANC and vote for a party that believes in giving people title to their land – the Democratic Alliance.
A DA government will deliver a land reform solution that works. We have already done so in the Western Cape where there is a 62% success rate on land reform projects as compared to 8% countrywide. We will continue handing out title deeds – so far 103 000 in 10 years in the Western Cape, and 6000 in Gauteng since Herman Mashaba became Mayor. We will fast track the over 6000 outstanding restitution claims and give tangible tenure to rural communities and farm-labour tenants. All government residential property and farmland will be offered to qualifying people under a grant and equity scheme.
SiyiDemocratic Alliance sakha iSouth Africa enye kawonke-wonke! Please, do the country a favour and vote DA.