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Land reform will happen, and MPs will be there for the journey - Mabuza

May 29 2018 15:27
Lameez Omarjee

Cape Town – Government is working to address issues relating to rights of ownership of land, Deputy President David Mabuza told Parliament.

Mabuza was answering questions in an oral reply to the National Assembly on Tuesday afternoon.

He was responding to a question by DA MB Thandeka Mbabama when he made comments about land reform. Mbabama asked what steps government is taking to provide direct ownership of land to persons, such as communal residents who have insecure rights.

To this Mabuza replied that a person whose tenure of land is legally insecure due to past racially discriminatory laws or practices, is entitled through an act of Parliament to have their tenure legally secured or redressed.

Issues around the security of tenure often flows from misunderstandings that land is owned by traditional leaders, this is a false view, Mabuza explained.

“It is the people who own the land – traditional leaders are only the custodians of people’s land,” he said.

“Government is seeking to address this issue to give certainty and remove the possibility of unwarranted conflict and distortion.” Mabuza said that the communal land tenure bill has been published for comment.

“Land belongs to the people. Through this bill, (we) see it as a process part of intervention of the country to conclusively deal with land.” It should aid the development of people.

Land reform will happen

Mabuza also made efforts to ease concerns around the way land reform will be implemented.

“Expropriation of land without compensation is one option that seeks to restore land to those people that were deprived, or their land taken from them. It is going to happen.”

Mabuza said that many options will be followed to redress the matter so that those who work the land will be given their land.

“It’s not only land that is held in private hands, we have got land that is under the leadership of the State, different departments are holding land, different municipalities are holding land - that land is going to be expropriated and be given to the people.”

Mabuza added that people will work the land and government will provide assistance for them to work the land. “That is going to happen,” he emphasised.

He reiterated views of President Cyril Ramaphosa that land reform will not disrupt production. “These efforts of trying to take land back to the people that were wrongly deprived of the land should not disrupt the productive capacity of our country.

“That is going to happen, and you are going to be there - all of you as we take this journey.”

The Constitutional Review Committee extended the deadline for public submissions on the review of Section 25 of the Constitution dealing with land reform to June 15, 2018.

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