LAND REFORM AT THE CROSSROADS

Land Reform
Land Reform

Zimbabwe is definitely not an example of where everything is going perfectly well, but they are getting very good mileage out of their national consensus on land reform and rural development. As things stands, there is a collective wisdom that land reform is a must and should be addressed with speed to avoid further chaos and mayhem that has beset the once beautiful country.

While Zimbabwe is in unison about the change that is expected, South Africa seems to be way in the political doldrums not knowing what is going to work or what alternatives are there for a successful land reform. It is a fact that at the practical level about 5% of white owned land has been transferred since the first democratic elections of 1994, which means that about 80% of land is still owned by whites. At this rate the already modest redistribution target of 30% has absolutely zero chance of being achieved by the target date of 2014.

Land Reform
The Land Question

Zimbabwe is definitely not an example of where everything is going perfectly well, but they are getting very good mileage out of their national consensus on land reform and rural development. As things stands, there is a collective wisdom that land reform is a must and should be addressed with speed to avoid further chaos and mayhem that has beset the once beautiful country.

While Zimbabwe is in unison about the change that is expected, South Africa seems to be way in the political doldrums not knowing what is going to work or what alternatives are there for a successful land reform. It is a fact that at the practical level about 5% of white owned land has been transferred since the first democratic elections of 1994, which means that about 80% of land is still owned by whites. At this rate the already modest redistribution target of 30% has absolutely zero chance of being achieved by the target date of 2014.

Perhaps the greatest failure of the land reform is found in the thousands of claims never registered because the potential claimants were not aware of their rights and of the cut off point for registration of their claims. The hundreds of thousands of South Africans were denied their rights to claim land merely because of some administrative edict and proclamation.

The call by the government to think outside the box and provide creative solutions remains words without substance. Some among government officials loosely make statements to the effect that the World Bank model of willing seller – willing buyer has failed, yet no paradigm shift in terms of the policy has ever been mentioned. For obvious reasons they cannot challenge the status quo for fear that the constitution guarantees the protection of private property by sanctifying willing-seller-willing-buyer approach to the redistribution of land.

It must be stated, for the record, that failure to address land form remains a hotbed for insurrection. It doesn’t take much imagination to understand the chronic lack of clear political will and ever present organizational ineptitude and dysfunctional leadership in our country. Our people cannot wait permanently for the return of their land. The current land reform programme despite its good intentions is beset with both policy and bureaucratic hassles. Even a cursory look at the laws and legislation clearly indicate that it was doomed to fail long before it took off.

Rural revolution founded on the right of people to own, directly and collectively, the land they till is required. It is a complete negation of the unrehabilitated colonial order which has not provided anything except failures. The current order presents an easy way out in going about land reform – it preserves the status quo.

1 thought on “LAND REFORM AT THE CROSSROADS

  1. the issues raise in the comment/editorial on land reform are nagging issues. let’s face it, the 1957 ANC was not formed to address the landlessness of the african people like the ANC of 1912 intended to do, it was formed to end apartheid and we have always asked them what would they do after apartheid was abolished. in their typical arrogant style they dismissed us. they thought that everything would fall in place once apartheid was abolished. the reason the property clause is in the constitution is that there were secret negotiations between the white ruling class and the ANC while excluding the PAC. these secret talks were a fait accompli. the CODESA talks were a facade and a charade. the PAC maintained all along that the willing-buyer-willing-seller policy of the ANC and the white ruling family won’t work but the PAC advice was not heeded. at the 1998 conference in soshanguve, former PAC president Dr Stanley Mogoba called for a land summit. the ANC played dead and about 6 or so years later the ANC jumped up from their feigned death and called for a land summit but didn’t invite the PAC. not surprisingly the willing-seller-willing-buyer policy wasn’t resolved because that anc “land summit” was a pretentious and futile exercise at which tax payers’ money was squandered. i agree that the ANC’s declarations are just sound and fury signifying nothing.

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