Today marks the anniversary of the 94th year since Sobukwe one of our most visionary and influential leaders was born. It also follows the Parliamentary vote to address the Constitution to see about resolving the unfair distribution of land ownership. This I believe is inline with the following words:
“THE PEOPLE SHALL SHARE IN THE COUNTRY’S WEALTH!
The national wealth of our country, the heritage of all South Africans, shall be restored to the people; The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole”
In 2017 the South African parliament initiated public consultation regarding the question of land expropriation without compensation. The vast majority of respondents seemed to be against having their land taken without any compensation. However the issue of land ownership remained and parliament have taken steps to explore how Mzansi might resolve the injustice of the past in a considered and fair way.
Here are some examples from the consultative process taken from #LandExpropriation on Twitter
Mr Willem Pretorius says South Africa has a history of negotiations and there is need for negotiations on the land matter so that a solution that works for everyone is found
This participant says they must not be blackmailed. “We grew up In poverty, we live in poverty, if the issue of land is not changed it means the issue of poverty will not change,”
This man says he is Khoisan and says he is the original owner of the land. Calls for special provision for those that don’t have links to the apartheid beneficiation
This participant says she is against the amendment because there is no clear plan currently on what will be done with the land upon expropriation. She also worked very hard to buy her property so its unfair to take something she worked hard for
Ms Emilda Mhlongo says land must be expropriated and that what must remain in private hands should be the manifestation of an individual’s labour such as crops and buildings and not the land
Mr Luvuyo in Beaufort West said he is a small farmer where 65 farmers must use one farm whereas one white farmer has 65 farms
Mr Wellington Hugo said in Beaufort West the Constitution must be amended. He suggested a referendum in next year’s elections to prove it’s a right decision
There were some really interesting submissions and the consultative process was impressive from what I could gather. Having never owned land myself the concept seems abstract. I literally rent space to put plant pots in… the plant pots are the only land I own. I am a fourth generation South African and my mothers family were forced off their land under Apartheid. I was born to refugee parents in exile from South Africa so am only an observer of the land debate.
As far as I can tell we’ve not come anywhere near the vision of the Congress of the People and most in South Africa are struggling economically. Giving people land ownership might really inspire dignity and patriotism. Everyday I see signs of despair in this beautiful and rich country.
I have seen xenophobic violence against incredibly traumatized groups who have come here from all over Africa for some hope of a better life. I believe in a united Africa and strongly support PAN Africanism so am always hurt when I read negative generalizations expressed by South Africans about other African groups. I believe that addressing the land issue may help to heal some of the injustice of the past.
My hope is that Robert Sobukwe’s vision of a better Mzansi will come closer to being realized. I hope that this process will result in a more equal society with stronger citizens who feel empowered by their government. I fear that our government may betray us and allocate land to multinational companies. It sometimes seems that our leaders are holding down the body of our country allowing multinational companies to exploit our resources disemboweling the land and hurting all life on it.