Land Expropriation Debate: The leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Julius Malema has slammed the ANC for refusing to amend the constitution to allow the Expropriation of Land without Compensation.
This was after the EFF’s motion for Land Expropriation without Compensation was defeated in the House by 261 votes to 33, while two MPs abstained.
While leading a debate in Parliament on Tuesday on amending Section 25 of the Constitution, Malema also revisited history as motivation for his party’s stance for expropriation without compensation.
He said the struggle for land expropriation began after the ‘Dutch gangsters’ took land belonging to black people.
“We all know that the Dutch gangsters arrived here and took our land by force. The struggle has since been about the return of the land into the hands of rightful owners,” he said.
Malema insisted that it’s wrong that 10 percent of the population owned more than 75 percent of the land; adding that South Africa remains a conquered nation because white monopoly capital still owned the means of production.
He urged black people, including members of the ruling party to see the EFF’s motion as a uniting factor, as no white person would understand the call for land expropriation because they don’t understand the pain of losing land.
While the land expropriation debate lasted, members of the African National Congress (ANC) rejected Floyd Shivambu’s motion by voting against it.
A change of the constitution requires a two-thirds majority vote. Had the ANC voted with the EFF‚ the fighters would have achieved the required threshold.
ANC MP and chairperson of the Rural Development and Development Committee, Phumzile Ngwenya-Mabila, maintained that the party will address land expropriation in its own way – without the help of the EFF.
He said: “We know the history of land dispossession. We also know how we are going to address that. We are not going to be told what to do. We are not in alliance with anyone else.
We are ruling government. The ANC agreed that the land reform process is slow, that is why various processes have been initiated, but we disagree with the motion by Honourable Shivambu.
In fact, we reject it. Expropriation of land should be done for the public purpose and public interest, not for EFF purpose or interest.”
Another member of the ANC, Jeremy Cronin, who doubles as the Deputy Minister of Public Works also shoved off the motion by saying the ANC agreed during Codesa negotiations in the 1990s that “unconstitutional deprivation” must never happen again to anyone in the country.”
Addressing the issue from a different viewpoint, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) Deputy Secretary General, Christan Themba Msimang urged the government to urgently return land back to those who need it the most.
National Freedom Party member (NFP), Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam agreed and said that “the restitution of land is not good enough, and that no amount of compensation is good enough.”
DA MP of Rural Development and Land Reform, Thomas Walters lambasted the ruling party for South Africa’s poor being landless.
Founding member of the African People’s Convention (APC), Themba Godi iterated that the return of land should be the first priority in the transformation to freedom.
However, Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald called on the fighters to stop blaming white people for government’s inability to redistribute the land efficiently.
An unfazed Malema vowed to give back the land to black people, even without the assistance of the Zuma-led administration.