30 May 2018
LAMEEZ OMARJEE and CLIVE NDOU
CAPE TOWN — Deputy President David Mabuza will soon meet Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini over plans to transfer rural land to the state.
Responding to oral questions in the National Assembly yesterday, Mabuza said the meeting would iron out any confusion over plans to remove rural land from the control of traditional leaders.
“We will explain to the king that these programmes are meant to ensure our people in rural areas also get the opportunity to own land and property just like any other citizen in the country,” he said.
Mabuza also responded to a question by DA MP Thandeka Mbabama, who asked what steps government is taking to provide direct ownership of land to people, such as communal residents, who have insecure rights.
To this, Mabuza replied that a person whose tenure of land is legally insecure due to past racially discriminatory laws or practices, is entitled through an act of Parliament to have their tenure legally secured or redressed.
Issues around the security of tenure often flow from misunderstandings that land is owned by traditional leaders. This is a false view, Mabuza explained.
“It is the people who own the land — traditional leaders are only the custodians of people’s land,” he said.
“Government is seeking to address this issue to give certainty and remove the possibility of unwarranted conflict and distortion.”
Mabuza said that the communal land tenure bill has been published for comment. He said it should aid the development of people. “Land belongs to the people.”
Mabuza also made efforts to ease concerns around the way land reform will be implemented.
“Expropriation of land without compensation is one option that seeks to restore land to those people that were deprived, or their land taken from them. It is going to happen.”
He said many options will be followed to redress the matter so that those who work the land will be given their land.
“It’s not only land that is held in private hands. We have got land that is under the leadership of the state, different departments are holding land, different municipalities are holding land — that land is going to be expropriated and be given to the people.”
Mabuza added that people will work the land and government will provide assistance for them to work the land. “That is going to happen,” he emphasised.
He reiterated the views of President Cyril Ramaphosa that land reform will not disrupt production. “These efforts of trying to take land back to the people that were wrongly deprived of the land should not disrupt the productive capacity of our country.”