What Zuma had to say about the burning issue of land in SA
Jan-Jan Joubert | 2017-02-10 08:12:45.0
President Jacob Zuma arrives to a guard of honour ahead of 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: Schalk van Zuydam/Pool
President Jacob Zuma said in his state of the nation address that it would be difficult‚ if not impossible‚ to achieve true reconciliation until the land question is resolved.
According to state statistics‚ only 8-million hectares of arable land had been transferred to black people‚ which was only 9.8% of the 82-million hectares of arable land in South Africa.
Zuma bemoaned the fact that there had been a 19% decline in households involved in agriculture – from 2.9-million in 2011 to 2.3-million households in 2016.
Although government wanted 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 was 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‚ farm workers join together into a legal entity and‚ together with a 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‚” he said.
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– TMG Digital/Parliament