Chairperson of the ANC’s subcommittee on economic transformation Enoch Godongwana has admitted that the governing party has made a lot of mistakes when it came to the heated issue of land.
He said this during an answer and question session with journalists at a media briefing held at the party’s Luthuli House headquarters in Johannesburg on Monday.
The ANC was giving feedback on some of the recommendations which were adopted at its inaugural land summit at the weekend.
The ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) is expected to adopt the submissions when it meets at the end of the week.
The ANC had been trying to chart a way forward on the critical land question and its December national conference decision to expropriate land without compensation.
Willing seller, willing buyer
Some in the party have suggested that the Constitution needed to be amended while others have said there is no need to do so as section 25 of the Constitution allowed for expropriation of land without compensation to take place.
“Sitting here, it would be disingenuous not to confirm that a lot of mistakes over the past 20 years have been made, [there is] no doubt about that. I would be misleading you if I don’t accept that particular issue,” said Godongwana.
He said government had mistakenly followed the concept of willing seller, willing buyer, when it came to land.
Race, gender central in land question
“You [check] every document of the ANC, it never appeared anywhere,” remarked Godongwana.
Godongwana said he learnt of the principle’s background during a presentation made by Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi to the ANC’s land summit.
“During Ngcukaitobi’s presentation he made reference to the 1975 Expropriation Act and that act is based on market principles, which … [said] willing buyer, willing seller. [It was] not based on the principles of the current Constitution or any ANC policy.”
The advocate, who described the issue of land redistribution as a “Cinderella project” due to a failure to legislate, told the conference that the principle of willing seller, willing buyer had its roots in the World Bank and that it was in conflict with the South African Constitution.
He also urged the ANC to constantly remember that race and gender could not be divorced from the land question.
“The inevitable fact is that you can never address the land crisis by releasing state-owned land – you have to target private land. We can’t avoid the race dynamic – as we stand here, 72% of farm land is in white hands. [With] the gender nature of land reform, [the] fact is that men overwhelmingly own land, [and the] Freedom Charter says land belongs to those who work it. The people who work the land are women,” Ngcukaitobi told participants at the land workshop.
Godongwana and NEC member Ronald Lamola announced on Monday that the ANC wanted an amended Expropriation Bill to be passed immediately, along with a Redistribution Bill, which they said would help test the constitutionality of the legislative framework on the issue. — News 24