Land dispossessed need to be at centre of reform – Sowetan Dialogues

Ngcukaitobi said the current format of land reform still discriminates against victims of apartheid.

2021-04-21 11:43:00 PM

Ngcukaitobi said the current format of land reform still discriminates against victims of apartheid.

The process that is aimed at addressing land reform needs to place those who were dispossessed at the centre and not on the sidelines.

“If you have inherited private property illegitimately, you never have to confront the pain that your forefathers may have caused to the person who lost that piece of ground. You do not have to see them and you get the cash regardless. That cash comes from the state. Those are the structural limitation that we should not gloss over when [we] raise the success of the constitutional project,” he said.

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Ngcukaitobi wrote a book titledLand Mattersin which he explores the government’s achievements and failures in land redistribution, restitution and tenure reform, and makes suggestions for what needs to be done in future.His book comes a time where the government wants to amend section 25 of the constitution to allow for the expropriation without compensation has started. Parliament has already started conducted virtual public hearings on the Expropriation Bill to get inputs on this historic piece of legislation.

In 2018, the EFF proposed that an ad hoc committee be established to review and amend section 25 of the constitution to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest‚ without compensation. The motion passed, activating the long process to amend the country’s supreme document. headtopics.com

Ngcukaitobi said his book is aimed at expanding the debate around land reform beyond the amendment of the constitution.One aspect it addresses is customary practices which did not give women the right to own land that were foreign. He traced the origins of such practices to Theophilus Shepstone, a British settler who spent time infiltrating African systems of leadership with colonial rule.

“That system gave men super powers particularly over the bodies of women. [Before then] women had become liberated and were working in the farm themselves. Today we call it customary law but I call it the distorted version of customary law,” he said.All participants in the dialogue dismissed the notion that if Africans were given land, they do not have the skills to farm.

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