No dodging land reform in SA

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his state of the nation address in Parliament, Cape Town on Thursday, June 20 2019.
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his state of the nation address in Parliament, Cape Town on Thursday, June 20 2019.
Image: Image: ESA ALEXANDER

It was heartening to learn that President Cyril Ramaphosa chose to present his State of Nation Address on June 20. The choice of this day evokes the memories of the past that are attached to this date.

It takes a great leader to make history out of history, for the dispossessed, this timing will bring much confidence. This is a clear indication that the legacy of the 1913 Native land act has reached its sell by date, it's now or never Mr President, act today!!

No one other than Sol Plaatjie can paint a portrait for us on how this day became a game changer in this country.

A day after the Natives Land Act of 1913 was enacted in SA, Sol Plaatjie captured the mood of that period very well by saying, "Awakening on Friday morning, June 20, 1913, the South African native found himself, not actually a slave, but a pariah in the land of his birth."

The Land Act was a foundation of the link in the making SA as a colony of a special type. In the oppression, dispossession and exploitation of blacks, British imperialism and Afrikaner nationalism found common ground.

Irrefutably so, the implementation of this Act instigated long, painful and devastating history of brutality, forced removal and eviction of the black majority from their land of birth. It left only 13% of land for black occupation.

To date, the devastation of the Land Act is felt in every corner of this country. The consequences are still haunting our democracy.

Awakening today, 106 years since the passing of 1913 Land Act, the burning question is how far have we gone to address the imbalances?

Acknowledging the government's efforts to transfer 4, 9 million hectares to dispossessed South Africans, more needs to be done.

The topic of land reform is painful for both land owners and the dispossessed but a necessary journey to embark on.

Mphahlela M Rammutla, Attridgeville, Tshwane

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