Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma addresses African Editors and Press Officers, (Photos GCIS)

Land expropriation: Dlamini-Zuma warns that people are growing impatient

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says the government needs to act fast.


Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma addresses African Editors and Press Officers, (Photos GCIS)

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has warned that dispossessed South Africans are growing impatient with the lax implementation of land expropriation without compensation.

Dlamini-Zuma, an African National Congress (ANC) stalwart and ex-wife of former President Jacob Zuma, has urged the government to fast-track national land reform in order to avoid social instability.

Her comments were made during a conference on land reform, where she was supported by ANC Women’s League president and minister for women Bathabile Dlamini‚ former communications minister Faith Muthambi and rural development minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

Dlamini-Zuma says the issue of land is a ticking bomb

Times Live has been covering the department of rural development and land reform’s women and youth dialogue on land reform, which is taking place in Boksburg and is set to continue until Friday.

The critical issue of land expropriation without compensation has dominated national debate for most of the year. Following the ANC’s announcement on Constitutional amendments and lengthy public hearing processes, it seems the issue has reached a crossroads.

The ANC has already embarked on a ‘trial run’, relying on its own notion that the Constitution already allows for land to be expropriated without compensation. Yet the convoluted and contentious issue remains unclear and unresolved. This, Dlamini-Zuma says, is fanning the flames of frustration amongst impoverished South Africans.

Dlamini-Zuma: This situation of the land is untenable

Speaking on the issue, Dlamini-Zuma concurred with her party, that land should not be nationalised, and instead, title deeds should be given to farmworkers and those prioritised under the redistribution model, saying:

“The current land reform process‚ which largely relies on the willing-buyer‚ willing-seller [approach] as well as the reluctant financial sector‚ is not adequate to free our people from the yoke of landlessness…Securing title deeds is the first step in the right direction but even this is unlikely to make significant differences in the skewed patterns of ownership.”

Dlamini-Zuma bemoaned the fact that government was seemingly taking its time implementing land reform, thereby perpetuating white-minority land ownership, saying:

“It is a travesty that despite the land reform strategy and the policies we adopted in 1994‚ only about seven percent of the land has been successfully moved to the black majority. The picture still remains largely the same‚ with 90% of the land in private hands. White landowners own 70% of all farming land‚ with Africans only owning 4%.”

According to Dlamini-Zuma, this lacklustre performance by the government has placed the nation on a powder keg, with the issue of land reform, and its uneasiness, threatening to light that fuse. She added that things could not continue as normal and that immediate change would need to prevail, saying:

“This situation of the land is untenable. The continuous denial of land rights to the vast majority of South Africans is a time bomb. We stand to lose as the patience of our people is slowly wearing out. There must be urgently a way of dealing with this land issue.

Failure to do that means we risk instability in the country and we risk to lose a lot more than we can gain from being quiet. It cannot be business as usual.”