South Africa’s opposition party, the DA, has accused governing party of opposing the SA land reform by sitting on 1.4 million hectares of land while thousands of South Africans remain landless.
In a statement released by the party’s shadow minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery Annette Steyn MP said the ANC-led government’s delay in ensuring that the land reform process is resolved as a matter of urgency, is a clear indication that the party cares only about itself.
She said while thousands of land claims have not been settled, the ANC government is withholding the transfer of 1.4 million hectares of land, worth R8.6 billion to its rightful owners.
Since 1996, the ANC has spent R21 billion on acquiring 3.4 million hectares of land. However, only 2 million hectares have been transferred, meaning that only 59% of land has been transferred to people while 41% has yet to be transferred, Steyn stated.
“The delay in the SA land reform process is a clear indication the ANC-led government is not serious about ensuring that our people get the land. Land restitution is merely thrown around by the ANC to play with people’s emotions in a desperate bid to gain votes. They are not really serious about transformation.”
“The dispossession of land left a painful scar in the lives of many South Africans and the delay by the current ANC government of the land restitution process is now perpetuating that very painful experience.”
The DA further accuse the ANC of not having any political will to hand over the land to landless South Africans. The party said the ANC simply use the land issue as a carrot to dangle in the face of the poor and landless when they campaign for votes meanwhile they distribute that land among themselves and the Guptas.
The DA remains committed to seeing the land being returned to its rightful owners. Land is not merely just a commodity. It is a justice issue. Land reform delayed is justice denied.
DA’s criticism of the ANC’s approach to SA land reform comes amid the governments plan to redistribute lands in order to fast-track the Radical economic transformation (RET) policy introduced by Jacob Zuma this year.
The Land Act of 1913 is among the vast array of discriminatory laws that spatially segregated people through land dispossession. It amplified the deep gorge of inequality in the country and further shattered the social fabric of communities and radically compromised economic development of the black majority.
It was only after the 1994 democratic elections that the vast majority of citizens began to hope for constitutional restitution of their land.
Though the ruling African National Congress has insisted that the issue of SA land reform remain one of its major policies of bringing about an economic turnaround, its past leaders have failed to bring this to pass. However, President Jacob Zuma whose tenure in office ends in 2019, has vowed to make the return of lands to its real owners a reality.
This also forms part of the policies of a number of the party’s Presidential hopeful, including Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma who he supports to become his successor.
She said that core vision of the RET was the redistribution of land which was taken from us through the barrel of the gun.