Land remained one of the thorniest issues facing South Africa, and needed to be addressed collectively, minister of small business development Lindiwe Zulu said at a business breakfast on the sidelines of the ANC elective conference.
Agriculture has been identified as one of the few sectors that contributed to economic growth, Zulu said, and there needed to be a focus on supporting small businesses in agriculture and agro-processing.
“But it is one thing to talk about the agricultural sector helping the economy, only to find that, when you dig deeper…it is still the same old white males in charge,” she said.
“[Land] shouldn’t be a thorny issue, if you understand the plight of black people in particular.”
Black South Africans, who had not had the opportunities that generations of white farmers had, now had to play catch up and needed not only access to land, but the support and education to utilise it properly, Zulu continued.
“We are calling on the farmers to say, this is your country, this is our country, but if you don’t walk with us, tomorrow we might have a bigger problem, which we might not be able to deal with,” she said.
This was a matter that needed to be addressed collectively, Zulu added. “It’s important for us as South Africans collectively, both farmers who own the land and government, to look at another way of doing this.”
The question of land ownership and reform is expected to be one of the most hotly contested issues, when the ANC finally moves onto policy discussions, in the wake of the election results.