Political parties reach consensus: ‘The land conversation is long overdue’

2018-10-03 20:00

It is no secret that political parties hold different views with regards to the land expropriation without compensation debate, however, during the land indaba hosted by City Press and Rapport on Wednesday political parties reached consensus on one thing: They all seemed to agree that the land conversation was long overdue in South Africa.

The Democratic Alliance’s Thandeka Mbabama got the ball rolling as she credited the Economic Freedom Fighters for tabling the motion of land expropriation before Parliament saying “were it not for the EFF the issue of land would not have been a public debate”.

However, true to form, Mbabama said this was as far as her party went in terms of agreeing with the EFF: “We do not agree with the request for the amendment of section 25 of the Constitution. As it is, the Constitution does make provisions for land redistribution.”

READ: 200 years. R600bn. And that’s just what it will take for current land claims

Mbabama said the issue was not in the need for the amendment of the Constitution but lay in the hands of the current ruling party and its failure to redistribute land in all its time in power.

EFF national chairperson Dali Mpofu, however, begged to differ. He said that, not only was there a need to amend the Constitution, but it should go as far as “the state being the custodian of all the land and later redistribute it accordingly to all South Africans, black, white, tall, short, fat or skinny”.

Mbabama argued that adopting such a model of land redistribution would come at a great risk.

Imagine the current government being entrusted with the country’s entire land. Already it is battling with so many accusations of state capture. On top of this we should entrust it with our land
Thandeka Mbabama, from the DA

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa also weighed in, saying all this talk of land expropriation was just scaring many South Africans because he did not see it amounting to anything.

“We need to stop scaring South Africans, there will not be any amendment of the Constitution because the two main parties [the ANC and the EFF] who could vote together to make this possible don’t see eye to eye on the merits of land expropriation,” argued Holomisa. He said his party was in favour of land expropriation but was against the amendment of the Constitution.

EFF Chairperson Dali Mpofu was adamant that the Constitution needs to be changed to allow for a successful land redistribution. Picture: Deon Raath/Rapport

Mpofu, however, argued that the only scaremongering that was happening was with regards to the EFF’s stance on the issue of land expropriation.

The EFF is a party that has said let us change the Constitution. The party has not resorted to taking arms and taking land forcefully so people need to over exaggerate the party’s stance
Dali Mpofu, EFF Chairperson

The IFP’s Mkhuleko Hlengwa said that the EFF was sugar-coating its stance since what it was calling for was not expropriation but amounted to the nationalisation of land instead.

Despite the differences in opinion on the manner in which land redistribution should be carried out or not, all political party representatives seemed to agree on the fact that the conversation on land was one that “has been long overdue” and one that needed to be “approached careful and with consideration for all South Africans”.

Juniour Khumalo
City Press
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April 14 2019