'It's criminal to leave vast tracts of land unused'‚ says Jessie Duarte

Jessie Duarte
Jessie Duarte

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said on Wednesday it was criminal that vast tracts of land had been left unused in South Africa.

Duarte was addressing black farmers from the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (Afasa) at the Ekurhuleni Convention Centre on the East Rand.

According to Duarte‚ it was concerning that government had spent more than R50-billion on land redistribution since the dawn of democracy‚ but most of the land was “not productive or sold back to established business.”

She also expressed concern that “30 million hectares” of land owned by the state was “not optimally used“.

Duarte said she had recently had the privilege of flying over the Eastern Cape‚ where she noticed that large parts of land were a white elephant and this “is criminal‚ it is a crime ... The land belongs to the people.”

Duarte said the ANC would forge ahead with the expropriation of land without compensation to address the historical injustices that had led to 80% of land in the country being in the hands of white people.

She said expropriated land would not only be for farming purposes‚ but also for industrial development and property ownership.

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