DURBAN – It is no coincidence that today, 27 years after gaining political freedom, only less than 10% of land has been returned to blacks. It is so because it was designed to be. The constitutional architecture was designed in such a way that the rights of the dispossessed must reign supreme over the rights of the dispossessed. The struggle of the fighters for economic freedom for the amendment of article 25 of the Constitution must be seen in this perspective.
The Constitution never intended a radical transformation of society aimed at uprooting colonialism and apartheid, but rather, Article 25 of the Constitution seeks to balance the interests of both the settler and the native, the dispossessed and dispossessed. It is a mission clearly impossible to accomplish because the interests of the settler can never be in common with the interests of the native. Uprooting colonialism essentially means replacing one form of power with another form of power.
In our case, that should mean returning the land to those from whom it was stolen, but not under the same conditions of private ownership of the land. We argue that private land ownership allows those who own property and resources to accumulate more land for themselves, leaving the vast majority of blacks who don’t have the money to buy land in the cold. . The principle of land expropriation without compensation and state guardianship over land remain guides for land reclamation and for removing class barriers to access land.
It is for this reason that we vehemently argue that we must urgently amend Article 25 of the Constitution, in order to correct this historic injustice enshrined in the Constitution. Today, 25 years after the promulgation of the Constitution, we do not have comprehensive legislation to protect the land rights of those whose land tenure is in danger. As a result, many of those who live and work on farms are being evicted on a daily basis. Today there is no comprehensive land redistribution policy or legislation. As a result, we have moved from one policy of redistribution to another, which has led to the enrichment of the leaders of the ruling party, more than the widespread redistribution of land.
As a result, the land still belongs to a tiny minority, dotted with a few black faces benefiting from the patronage network of the ruling party. It is therefore not surprising that the ruling party has thwarted almost all attempts to amend the Constitution and allow the changes necessary to radically transform land ownership.
Radical land reform must be able to dismantle these control systems. It is more than a simple land question, as essential as it is. Essentially, it is about restructuring the nature of our economy, our geography and our society as a whole. More fundamentally, the land issue concerns the creation of a new society based on the values of humanity and freedom, and without land there is no freedom.
As Fanon says in Les Damnés de la Terre: “For a colonized people, the most essential value, because the most concrete, is first of all the land; the land which will bring them bread and above all dignity ”
The rhetoric of radical economic transformation by the current government is contrived, and it is not genuine, for there is now, as never before, no commitment to uprooting the remnants of apartheid and colonialism entrenched in our economy. The most important of these vestiges is land tenure inequality.
While these issues need to be resolved through nationally enacted legislation and constitutional amendments, they have a direct impact on municipal governance and may prevent progressive municipalities from implementing comprehensive land redistribution programs.
Society must understand that, whether at the national, provincial or local level, the ruling party does not intend to make land available to our people who are outside their network of patronage. The very few who got land were frustrated by the lack of support to make a living from the land.
South Africa needs a new deal to resolve the land issue, and that deal is about ending the obsession with pleasing the settler community. It is the African peoples whose interests must come first. Our municipalities will demonstrate at the local level that it is possible to restructure land tenure in this country, and support black youth initiatives based on land use.
Marshall Dlamini is the Secretary General of the Economic Freedom Fighters and is a Member of Parliament for the EFF