22 July 2018
Land expropriation with compensation
The Land belongs to the People
The African Democratic Change has noted the media dialogues regarding the recent motion passed by Parliament to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation. We, however, believe the current land issue in South Africa can be best understood in reference to the historical narrative of colonial expropriation of native African peoples Land. We believe compensation should come from the colonising States, there has never been accountability for ravaging South Africa. Not only should they have to pay the compensation, but reparations need to be paid because this was, in fact, a war a 300-year war. This war began when the colonialist violently invaded South Africa and the battles that ensued after that including apartheid crippled the indigenous people of South Africa
We believe the debate on land should unite South Africans by de-racialising the issue and understanding it for what it is.
The current South African social, political and economic inequalities of today are linked to long colonial land dispossessions, oppression and exploitation of indigenous people of Africa. From 1652, the British and Dutch colonisers started invading the South African land, starting the Khosan land expanding to the rest of South Africa. The colonisers brutally murdered the indigenous African people, dispossessed them of their land and forced them to work for them on the dispossessed land and mines. The colonisers looted the indigenous people’s livestock and expropriated people’s wealth including, mineral wealth. To this current day, there is a constant and steady wealth exodus from South African by companies such as De Deers, who benefit from the actions of imperialistic rule.
The colonisers further forcefully removed South Africans of colour off their remaining land. Various discriminatory legislations which stripped native Africans of arable land were enacted, beginning with the 1913 Natives Land Act No. 27. These South Africans were placed in areas with little arable land, forcing them to become dependent on the pittance from colonialists and for the arable Land. Thus, through racial segregation, South Africans of African origin lost many of their farming techniques, their indigenous knowledge and their dignity. By the end of Apartheid, although South Africans were politically free and equal, they were not economically or socially free and equal. This inequality caused a large discrepancy between the quality of life and social standing of South Africans of European origin and South Africans of African origin
Governments former approach to land reform policies through expropriation with compensation was extremely flawed. It used state resources to purchase the land, funds that were meant to be used for those who need it, we view this as a double tragedy.
We, as the African Democratic Change, believe that South Africa belongs to all those who live in it, this view is in line with the Freedom Charter and South African Constitution.
As the African Democratic change, we consider both the urban and the rural land for expropriation and redistribution.
We hold the view that, to get to a space where South Africans are truly equal, we believe that the majority of South Africans, specifically the South Africans of African origin (non-European South Africans), need to be economically emancipated to eradicate poverty and inequalities, placing at the forefront the ownership of land and the protection of their property rights.
We believe that land in South Africa should be expropriated, with compensation from former colonialist states of the land, we are of the view that the state should not have to carry the weight of past racial divides which were created to benefit an elite few foreigners who disposed native Africans of their land.
The land should be placed under the custodianship of a body of the relevant stakeholders which would be made up of various civil society organisations, political parties, unions and other pertinent structures which will ensure that the integrity, transparency and morality of the body. This body will be overseen by the constitutional judiciary where it is to be debated and implemented. The implementation of the redistribution of land is to at no point compromise the human security of the nation’s people and must ensure that women and youth are uplifted through land and property ownership.
At no point must land be distributed for personal gain by amoral leaders and stakeholders. We believe that traditional institutions that have ownership of land should have their land expropriated for the benefit of all South Africans rather than a selected few. We do not believe that throughout this transition phase, occupants should be forcefully removed or left homeless, rights to housing and residence should be protected. As African democratic change, we are aware of the disenfranchised majority and we place skills development at the helm of land redistribution. This process will level the economic playing field.
The African Democratic Change, guided by the constitution of South Africa, puts forward the right to movement and residence of the nation’s people, and we utilize this principle to guide the direction in which land policy should be headed.
We will be engaging with the state, the section 25 committee and various other stakeholders that will make up the proposed custodian body. Furthermore, we intend on starting dialogues with governments of the former colonialist states. We need to make it clear this is not a negotiation. South Africa and various other African countries. By this, we will be setting the benchmark for other African countries whom we intend to engage with as well.
After centuries of systematic oppression the people, there needs to be a psychological and conscious rehabilitation for both European and African origin.
Nathaniel Denton Bricknell
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