DA land policy puts ownership in the people’s hands, not the state’s
19 June 2018
I would like to take this opportunity to quote African-American Civil Rights Activist, W.E.B Du Bois:
“To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships.”
Although written in early part of the 20th century, this quote resonates with the plight of millions of South Africans today.
The effects of our history of colonialism through to the torturous years of Apartheid remain a reality for many, despite the advent of democracy in 1994.
The economic imbalances between the formerly oppressed and former oppressors are glaringly obvious if one looks at employment, economic inclusion, spatial-location and ownership.
It is for this reason that this debate is significantly important if we are to forge a new path to greater inclusion and bridging the wealth gap as well as ownership.
It must be noted that the DA explicitly rejects the idea of expropriation without compensation.
Many of our critics have lambasted us for not joining in on this populist notion – with some even claiming that this belies the inherent racist bent of the party.
This could not be further from the truth and today I am here to set the record straight.
The DA is a firm believer in redress and we are by no means ignorant to the slow pace of reform in this country.
This problem of non-existent redress has a cause, and with its lacklustre approach to remedying the ills of the past, the cause is the ANC.
Over the past 24 years, budget spend by successive ANC governments on funding and enabling land reform processes has shrunk to the point where in this coming financial year, the government will spend more on VIP protection services than it does on land reform.
This is shocking and shameful.
Every day, in towns and cities across Gauteng, the number of informal settlements grow. The people who live in these places are subjected to hardships that are beyond comprehension. For many, their daily lives are hell on earth.
Given the ANC’s abysmal approach to land reform, state ownership of all land will not be a silver bullet to improve the plight of our people. People living in abject poverty will remain on society’s bottom rung.
State ownership of land has failed in every place in which this practice has been adopted, from Venezuela to Zimbabwe. What will be different here?
More of our people will become economically excluded as the best land is reserved for the politically connected and the elite who can solicit land in exchange for bribes.
The country will face the onslaught of recession as banks go bust, industries fail and GDP contracts.
The alternative to this disastrous situation is the upholding of property rights, the rapid unlocking of government land for ownership by our people and the wholesale issuing of title deeds, as is the practice where the DA already governs.
In the metros where the DA governs, we have already distributed more than 75 000 title deeds, and in the DA-led Western Cape our approach has accelerated the pace of land reform and led to the success of 62% of all land reform farms. Where the ANC governs, their success rate is only 10%, which clearly shows that the problem is with the ANC not the Constitution.
Ownership brings not only the security of tenure, but it also empowers people to use this asset to gain surety of capital, and it creates generational wealth.
Many of the “black-taxes” paid for by our people stem from the inequalities of the past such as inferior education, land dispossession and economic exclusion.
The DA’s vision for ownership and the unlocking of government-owned land will alleviate the burden of these “black-taxes” as the structural legacy left by Apartheid will be broken down.
Ownership is the key to bringing to the fore a more equitable society. A South Africa befitting of the great people who live within its borders.
The alternative will create a state of landless peasants enslaved to the whims of the government of the day.
Issued by John Moodey, Gauteng Provincial Leader, 19 June 2018