President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised that land expropriation without compensation will not be turned into a political elite empowerment programme, but will be used for the benefit of the general population.
Addressing the governing party’s breakfast meeting in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, on Saturday, Ramaphosa said the ANC had learnt lessons from other liberation movements in Africa where political leaders became the primary beneficiaries of land reform.
He said they had noted how opponents of land reform in South Africa had sought to misrepresent the governing party’s position, but insisted that they would not shy away from addressing past imbalances.
“Happen it shall. Whether people like it or not, the land will be given to the people and not politicians,” said Ramaphosa.
He said he would not be apologetic when expressing the ANC’s position on land reform when he visited the US in the next few weeks, just as he had done during his recent trip to China. Ramaphosa is scheduled to attend the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, which starts on September 18 in New York.
He expressed optimism that land reform would lead to numerous economic opportunities for small scale-farmers and cooperatives, and stressed that the ANC was pushing for a win-win approach on land reform.
He launched a scathing attack on groups that claimed to advocate for radical economic transformation by invading construction sites and government offices demanding contracts. This phenomenon has been particularly prevalent in KwaZulu-Natal, with groups such as Delangokubona putting pressure on municipalities.
He said such groups were hijacking and distorting the ANC’s policy on radical economic transformation.
“This thing of raiding buildings and demanding 30% or 50% of contracts is radical economic robbery, and such groupings must be stopped. If you do wrong, you must know that there will be consequences – law enforcement agencies must act against such. South Africa must be based on the rule of law,” Ramaphosa said.
He added that the party would be pushing for women empowerment and would ensure that women became managers, executives and owners as opposed to being labourers in the agricultural sector.
Ramaphosa also said that youth unemployment was giving him sleepless nights, and expressed hope that the stimulus that would be presented in the near future would help to deal with the economic challenges facing South Africans.
Aside from the breakfast meeting, Ramaphosa and the ANC KwaZulu-Natal leadership participated in a string of mobilising activities, including a walk in KwaMashu and an ANC Youth League celebration in Umlazi. – Staff reporter