ANC wants to get more ‘radical’ on taking land from whites

landhungerThe centenary of the 1913 Natives Land Act provides an opportunity for South Africa to evaluate progress made in land redistribution, the ANC said on Wednesday.

“The centenary… provides an opportune moment to evaluate how far we have come in our quest to realise the aspiration of the landless and dispossessed majority,” African National Congress spokesman Jackson Mthembu said.

Wednesday marked 100 years since the promulgation of the act, which dispossessed indigenous Africans of land.

Mthembu said ANC conferences had identified land reform and rural development as a priority for socio-economic transformation. The last national congress in Mangaung called for a radical and rapid break from the past.

It resolved to replace the willing seller, willing buyer principle with the “just and equitable” principle.

“Mangaung further resolved to expropriate land without compensation where such land is acquired through unlawful means or used for illegal purposes having due regard to section 25 of the Constitution,” Mthembu said.

Of the targeted 24.6 million hectares to be redistributed, only four million hectares had so far been transferred to black people and communities, he said.

The ANC Youth League condemned the slow pace of redistribution of land since 1994.

Earlier, the so-called Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said government had failed to redistribute land to previously disadvantaged groups.

“[The] government of South Africa has failed to use almost 20 years of democratic dispensation to address and redress the land question,” spokesman Floyd Shivambu said.

“Our people remain in squatter camps, informal settlements, and non-arable rural communities with no forms of subsistence because they do not have access to land.”

Shivambu said government had to pay particular attention to the country’s food economy.

“Food production, packaging, transportation, marketing, advertising, retail, and trade should constitute one of South Africa’s biggest economic sectors.”

South Africa needed to provide subsidies for small-scale farmers and open packaging and retail opportunities.

He said the EFF would demand expropriation of land without compensation.

The Food and Allied Workers’ Union (Fawu) called on all South Africans to observe a moment of silence in commemoration of the act.

“We will be calling on our government to give priority to a faster delivery of land reform and transformation of land ownership in the country,” said Fawu general secretary Katishi Masemola.

Democratic Alliance leader and Western Cape premier Helen Zille, said her province had prioritised the finalisation of land claims which had been unfinished under previous governments.

“We understand that justice delayed is justice denied. In the DA-governed Western Cape we are very happy that all but one of the land claims has been finalised and the one outstanding claim is on a clear path to resolution.” – Sapa