EFF leads from front in debate on expropriation of land

Leader of the EFF Julius Malema .
Leader of the EFF Julius Malema .
Image: Alaister Russell

Land dispossession is a very painful chapter in the history of South Africa.

There is now a general consensus among progressive forces on the negative impact of apartheid and colonialism of a special type as two fundamental factors responsible for theft of land.

Despite many wars of resistance such as the First Frontier War of 1779 and the Bambatha Rebellion of 1906, African people remained a subjugated people stripped off of human dignity.

Ironically, it was the late Afrikaner scholar Sampie Terreblanche who succinctly related the tyranny of colonialism and its impact on the lives of African people.

The economic exclusion of an African was more pronounced after the passing of the 1913 Natives Land Act. This notorious racist legislation not only accelerated the pauperisation of an African, but it also confined him to nothing but a mere wage labourer determined by the alliance of gold and maize (white Afrikaners who dominated the agricultural industry and the English speaking Anglo-Saxons who dominated the mining industry).

This unholy alliance was the result of the 1910 political compromises between Afrikaners and the English speaking Anglo-Saxon that led to the creation of the Union of South Africa.

In his book The land is Ours Tembeka Ngcukaitobi eloquently demonstrates how the land was taken away from African people through coercive and noncoercive means and, those who resisted were massacred.

Noncoercive measures such as the 1913 Natives Land Act was used to disempower African people.

Livestock owned by Africans perished as the land that was used for grazing suddenly disappeared. African people were confined to a mere 13% of land in some parts of the Union of South Africa.

Alternatively, they could simply find peace in one of the British protectorates including Basutoland (Lesotho), Swaziland and Bechuanaland (Botswana).

Fast forward to 1994, the ANC handed over the trophy of reconciliation to the historically oppressed masses without any shred of justice.

Our staple food became democracy, equality and human rights without a thought of correcting the historic and economic injustices meted against black people in general and African people in particular.

The nationalisation of monopoly industries, which is encapsulated in the Freedom Charter, was abandoned after the co-option of the ruling class by white monopoly capital. Foreign schemes such as "willing buyer, willing seller" were adopted by our yesteryear heroes thus the complete halt of land revolution in South Africa.

A new class of radical young people had to be born to ensure the implementation of land expropriation without compensation. It is a fact that the establishment of EFF has drastically changed the tempo and temperature of the South African political landscape.

A one dominant party system is now a thing of the past.

South Africans, as they will be registering for the 2019 national general elections this weekend, will be spoiled for choice when they make contact with the ballot paper.

The EFF has the right to claim victory of the implementation of the expropriation of land without compensation because it is the only political party that shunned political expediency by adopting such a policy long before the dawn of national elections.

The EFF is not motivated by the need to engineer policy aesthetics with national elections in mind.

Instead, the breakthrough in the land reform agenda in South Africa as led by the EFF is a historic necessity informed by all forms of injustices meted against African people.