South Africa’s ruling party – the African National Congress (ANC) is witholding the transfer of 1.4 million hectares of land while thousands of South Africans are landless. This will change if opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), gets their way.
The DA’s Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Annette Steyn, says her party is “gravely concerned by the ANC-led government’s delay in ensuring that the land restitution process is resolved as a matter of urgency”.
While thousands of land claims have not been settled, the ANC government is withholding the transfer of 1.4 million hectares of land, worth R8.6 billion to its rightful owners.
In a reply to a Parliamentary question by the DA, it came to light that since 1996, the ANC has spent R21 billion on acquiring 3.4 million hectares of land. However, only 2 million hectares have been transferred, meaning that only 59% of land has been transferred.
Steyn says the delay in the land restitution process is a clear indication the ANC-led government is not serious about ensuring that people get the land. “Land restitution is merely thrown around by the ANC to play with people’s emotions in a desperate bid to gain votes. They are not really serious about transformation.
“The dispossession of land left a painful scar in the lives of many South Africans and the delay by the current ANC government of the land restitution process is now perpetuating that very painful experience.
The ANC does not have any political will to hand over the land to landless South Africans. They simply use the land issue as a carrot to dangle in the face of the poor and landless when they campaign for votes meanwhile they distribute that land among themselves and the Guptas.”
The DA says it is committed to seeing land being returned to its rightful owners. “Land is not merely just a commodity. It is a justice issue. Land restitution delayed is justice denied.”