Compensation for land must come from former colonisers: ADeC

File photo of people working on a farm.
File photo of people working on a farm.
Image: Adrian de Kock

The African Democratic Change (ADeC) says the issue of land being returned to the people must not be racialised and that compensation for the land must come from the countries that colonised South Africa.

In a statement on Tuesday‚ it said the land issue in South Africa could be best understood in reference to the historical narrative of colonial expropriation of native African people’s land.

“We believe compensation should come from the colonising states. There has never been accountability for ravaging South Africa. Not only should they have to pay the compensation‚ but reparations need to be paid‚ because this was in fact a war a 300-year war. This war began when the colonialists violently invaded South Africa and the battles that ensued after that‚ including apartheid‚ crippled the indigenous people of South Africa. We believe the debate on land should unite South Africans by de-racialising the issue and understanding it for what it is‚” the party said.

The land issue has become a serious topic of contention after the ANC adopted land expropriation without compensation at its elective conference in December.

On February 27‚ a motion for land expropriation without compensation was passed in the National Assembly by a majority vote.

The matter was referred to the Constitutional Review Committee‚ which must report back to Parliament by August 30. The Economic Freedom Fighters had 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. Section 25 of the Constitution – known as the property clause - states the government must make laws and take other steps to help people or communities to get land to live on‚ and to claim back land if they lost it after 1913 and because of an apartheid law.

Since the motion was passed the number of land invasion in various cities across the country have begun to rise. The City of Johannesburg and Tshwane have been the worse hit. On Tuesday‚ police were still dealing with land invasions in Protea Glen‚ Soweto.

ADeC said black South Africans were dispossessed of their land during the terrible years of colonisation and apartheid.

It said when apartheid came to an end‚ South Africans were politically free and equal but “they were not economically or socially free and equal”. It added that government’s programmes on land had failed to address this issue.

“We believe that land in South Africa should be expropriated‚ with compensation from former colonialist states of the land. We are of the view that the state should not have to carry the weight of past racial divides which were created to benefit an elite few foreigners who disposed native Africans of their land.

“The land should be placed under the custodianship of a body of the relevant stakeholders which would be made up of various civil society organisations‚ political parties‚ unions and other pertinent structures which will ensure the integrity‚ transparency and morality of the body. This body will be overseen by the constitutional judiciary where it is to be debated and implemented‚” the party said.

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