Government must speed up land reform processes to redress apartheid flaws

Land is important to humankind. It is our beginning and our end. We cultivate and harvest our livelihoods out of the land. We live in it and we are buried in it.

Policies of the apartheid era eroded this fact. Acts such as the Group Areas Act of 1950 and the Natives Land Act of 1913 demonstrated the disheartening deeds of apartheid and the colonial past. The acts wreaked havoc as they bolstered a grip to stifle black land ownership.

The gentrification of land that was seized from blacks into cities made matters worse. All black people suddenly had to live and work in places that are defined and influenced by inhumane spatial planning and land use laws that were premised on racial inequality, segregation and unsustainable settlement patterns.

The imperative for inclusivity and togetherness was literally thrown out of the window. To restore the dignity of ordinary people in the country and also in enacting what is pronounced in the constitution, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform through the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, 2013, provides for astute spatial planning and land management in South Africa.

The Act provides a legislative framework for government to transform the apartheid spatial planning regime to one that reflects the fruits of our national suffrage and a desirable direction which we need to take as a nation.

Themba Mzula Hleko

Rosslyn Gardens

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