Impossible to achieve true reconciliation until land question resolved: Zuma
Jan-Jan Joubert | 2017-02-10 09:23:29.0
President Jacob Zuma delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA) to a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces in Cape Town, South Africa February 9, 2017.
Image by: SUMAYA HISHAM
President Jacob Zuma said it will be difficult if not impossible‚ to achieve true reconciliation until the land question is resolved.
According to state statistics‚ only eight million hectares of arable land have been transferred to black people‚ which is only 9.8% of the 82 million hectares of arable land in South Africa.
Zuma bemoaned the fact that there has been a 19% decline in households involved in agriculture from 2.9 million in 2011 to 2.3 million households in 2016.
Although government wants to use the Expropriation Act to pursue land reform and land redistribution‚ it had to refer the bill back to Parliament on the basis that the bill might not pass constitutional muster due to inadequate public participation during its processing.
He admitted that the reopening of land claims is also still on hold because the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act of 2014 was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court.
Government will continue to implement other programmes such as the Strengthening of Relatives Rights programme‚ also known as the 50-50 programme.
In this programme‚ the farm workers join together into a legal entity and together with the farm owner a new company is established and the workers and the owner become joint owners.
Zuma appealed to land claimants to accept land instead of financial compensation.
“Over 90% of claims are currently settled through financial compensation which does not help the process at all. It perpetuates dispossession. It also undermines economic empowerment‚” said the president.
– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE