ANC debate South Africa land reform today

Tony Gosling tony at
Mon Dec 17 21:41:09 GMT 2012

VIDEO: Black S Africans still awaiting promised land (2:12)
AlJazeeraEnglish· - Published on 17 Dec 2012
Almost 20 years since the end of apartheid, black 
landless South Africans are angry over the 
government's failure to address their concerns. 
They say they are still waiting for promised 
reforms to take place. Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa reports from Johannesburg.

The failure of land reform in South Africa
Al Jazeera - By Iqra Qalam and Joshua Lumet - 6 December 2012

Almost two decades after the end of apartheid in 
South Africa, the failure of the agrarian reform 
policies of the African National Congress (ANC) 
has exposed the bourgeois nationalist liberation 
movement’s inability to resolve the land question.

The land reform promise was encapsulated in the 
ANC’s 1955 Freedom Charter, the movement’s main 
statement of principles and program. It was 
advanced in order to garner the political support 
of the rural poor. The ANC claimed that “all the 
land (would be) re-divided amongst those who work 
it to banish famine and land hunger” and that 
“the state shall help the peasants with 
implements, seed, tractors and dams to save the 
soil and assist the tillers”, and that the rural 
masses would be entitled to “the right to occupy land wherever they choose”.

After 1994, the ANC promised to undertake broad 
and sweeping action to reverse the deprivations 
institutionalized under Apartheid. These promises 
were outlined in the Reconstruction and 
Development Programme (RDP), a policy framework 
developed through extensive consultation between 
the ANC and its tripartite alliance partners, the 
Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) 
and the South African Communist Party (SACP). It 
contained government policy guidelines for agricultural and land reform.

The RDP’s land reform goals had three broad 
thrusts. The first was the strengthening of 
tenure rights for the rural poor. Second, land 
restitution was to be made to those who could 
prove that their or their family’s land had been 
stolen under Apartheid. And the third was to 
redistribute 30 percent of agricultural land to 
the rural poor. All three goals were to be 
achieved before the year 2000. More than a decade 
after this deadline, none of these goals have been realized.

The land restitution promised that people who 
were forced off their land from 1913 (when the 
Native Land Act was passed) until the end of 
Apartheid would have their property rights 
reinstated. The process itself was a farce. 
Poorly advertised, most people were unaware that 
the deadline for lodging restitution claims was 
to close at the end of 1996. Late registration 
was not permitted, hence the vast majority of 
forced removal victims were never considered for 
restitution. Among the tiny minority who did 
apply, 8,770 claims have yet to be settled; 
despite promises that the restitution process would be completed by 2005.

In many of the restitution cases, the primary 
beneficiary has died and consequently their 
children and grandchildren have become joint 
beneficiaries. Worn down by endless bureaucracy, 
and countless delays, many have opted for a 
meager cash payment in lieu of the valuable prime 
urban land from which they were forcibly removed.

There are currently 500,000 subsistence farmers, 
struggling to eke out a living, and an additional 
11 million rural poor who have not benefitted 
from land reform. There has been no mass transfer 
of agricultural land; instead the rural poor have 
been forced to migrate to the cities, living in 
squalid overcrowded townships, searching for 
work. Some of the rural poor find employment in 
the mines. Much of their meager income is 
repatriated to the rural areas in order to 
sustain families living on the brink of 
starvation.Since 1996, only 7 percent of the 
land—as opposed to the target of 30 percent—has 
been transferred. Of the land that has been 
redistributed to black farmers, 90 percent of 
farms are no longer productive. Agriculture is a 
capital intensive process, requiring tractors, 
implements, seed, fertilizer as well as technical 
assistance. These land reform support services have not been forthcoming.

In addition, the redistribution of land is 
governed by the 1996 Constitution of the Republic 
of South Africa—Section 25—which states that 
property may only be expropriated “subject to 
compensation, the amount of which and the time 
and manner of payment of which have either been 
agreed to by those affected or decided or approved by a court”.

In order to divert attention away from the 
inability of the ANC to implement land reform, 
the ANC took a decision to scrap the willing 
buyer, willing seller principle at its June 
conference this year, with President Jacob Zuma 
claiming this principle was the major impediment 
to implementing land reform. Following the June 
conference, the president released a five point 
land reform plan to “speed up” the process, which 
included a provision for buying land at 50 
percent of its market value, or at a “fair productive value”.

The Financial Mail wrote that the President would 
have been aware that such statements could impact 
heavily on investor confidence. “The party was 
therefore careful to stress that the speeding up 
of land reform would be done in accordance with 
the Constitution, without alarming investors or 
putting the country at risk,” according to the 
newspaper.“Unfortunately, a lot of what is being 
said by the president is heavy on rhetoric and 
short on detail,” Ruth Hall, senior researcher at 
the University of the Western Cape’s institute 
for poverty, land and agrarian studies told the Mail & Guardian newspaper.

While Hall commended the government’s attempts to 
speed up land reform, she argued that the process 
needed to be handled very carefully. “Setting up 
localised partnerships is a vital ingredient to 
the process of equitable land reform,” said Hall. 
“But, how exactly commercial farmers will become 
involved in a process that is encouraging them to 
accept below market value is the big question.”

Johannes Moller, president of Agri SA—South 
Africa’s largest agricultural trade 
association—described the current proposals for 
land reform as “dangerous and unworkable”.

“We think we should stick to market value-based 
land reform. If not, the security needed for a 
replacement industry for farmers leading the 
sector will be lost and you will be faced with 
further unemployment and other related problems,” Moller said.

Moller added that this approach could also lead 
to banks and other investment institutions 
becoming wary of placing funds in agriculture. 
This process could then lead to the agriculture 
industry in South Africa being crippled by strike 
action that has thus far only plagued the Western Cape province.

Research by Princeton University professor 
Bernadette Atuahene, who worked with South 
Africa’s department of land affairs and rural 
development, claims that there are two reasons 
why the ANC has had little success with the 
expropriation of land, and therefore its land 
reform policies—it is reluctant to do so, and the 
constraints imposed by the constitution. 
Reassuring international investors, Hall said the 
changes announced in June were not much more than 
a “political maneuver” and do not signal a new era of land reform.

Farmer Charl Senekal, South Africa’s largest 
sugar cane producer, said any attempts to 
facilitate the sale of land below market should 
not be entertained. “It is enshrined in our 
Constitution that we will be paid a market value 
rate for our land,” he told the Mail & Guardian 
newspaper. Senekal also warned about the 
possibility of food insecurity emerging in the 
country’s agricultural industry if government did not buy land at market value.

“If farmers lose interest in this industry when 
they see the opportunity for success is 
dwindling, that will immediately lead to food 
insecurity and if you thought the disquiet in the 
mining sector was bad—you haven’t seen the worst 
of what will come,” he said.Senekal was referring 
to the wildcat strike in the mining industry, 
which led to the August 16 Marikana massacre, 
where 34 miners were massacred by the South 
African Police Services (SAPS). Subsequently, 
farm labourers in the Western Cape province 
initiated their own strike action aimed at 
increasing the current minimum wage, which is set 
at R69 (US$7.85) per day, to R150 per day 
($16.70).The failure the ANC’s land 
redistribution policies has a direct bearing on 
the militant strike action by farm workers. 
Underlying the demand for the wage increase is 
the question of land reform, and the promised better life for all.

Despite the promises of “equality” and 
“democracy”, the fall of Apartheid has ushered in 
a new era of misery and social degradation. The 
most elementary aspiration of the rural poor, the 
desire for land, has been unfulfilled. The ANC, 
as handmaiden of the capitalist ruling elite, on 
the one hand protects with brutal violence the 
inviolable right to private property enshrined in 
the Constitution, while on the other hand 
deceiving the rural poor into waiting for 
Godot—an endless wait for something that will never come.

Between two conflicting principles—the right of 
the rich to amass their fortunes and the right of 
all people to a better life—there can be no 
compromise. In the words of Karl Marx, “Between 
equal rights, force decides.” The question of 
land reform will only be decided by the struggle of classes.

In the Permanent Revolution, Trotsky wrote “With 
regard to countries with a belated bourgeois 
development, especially the colonial and 
semi-colonial countries, the theory of the 
permanent revolution signifies that the complete 
and genuine solution of their tasks of achieving 
democracy and national emancipation is 
conceivable only through the dictatorship of the 
proletariat as the leader of the subjugated 
nation, above all of its peasant masses.”

The only way forward for a completion of the 
democratic and national emancipation tasks posed 
most sharply prior to the fall of Apartheid is 
through socialist revolution. All major 
financial, industrial and manufacturing 
corporations as well as industries critical to 
the basic functioning of society—including 
agriculture, telecommunications, education, 
health care and transportation—must be subject to 
public ownership and democratic control.

The struggle for power requires the unconditional 
political independence of the working class from 
the parties, political representatives and agents 
of the capitalist class. The working class cannot 
come to power, let alone implement a socialist 
program, if its hands are tied by politically 
enfeebling compromises with the political 
representatives of other class interests.

What is required is a new leadership in the 
working class based on an internationalist and 
socialist perspective to carry through the fight 
for genuine democracy, equality and socialism. 
This means the building of a South African 
section of the International Committee of the Fourth International.
+44 (0)7786 952037
Twitter: @TonyGosling
uk-911-truth+subscribe at
"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic 
poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung

Fear not therefore: for there is nothing covered 
that shall not be revealed; and nothing hid that 
shall not be made known. What I tell you in 
darkness, that speak ye in the light and what ye 
hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. Matthew 10:26-27

Die Pride and Envie; Flesh, take the poor's advice.
Covetousnesse be gon: Come, Truth and Love arise.
Patience take the Crown; throw Anger out of dores:
Cast out Hypocrisie and Lust, which follows whores:
Then England sit in rest; Thy sorrows will have end;
Thy Sons will live in peace, and each will be a friend.  
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list