On Friday, President Jacob Zuma said Black people must not quarrel about the question of land, instead, they must be united on the issue. Black Opinion, led by former Economic Freedom Fighters MP Andile Mngxitama, writes
3 March 2017 – Zuma was speaking at the opening of the National House of Traditional leaders.
“This [land] is a matter, I believe the blacks in general and the Africans in particular, is not a matter to quarrel about. It is not a matter to disagree about. If we do so, we will not be putting together our strength, and we might get back to the time when the land was taken away from us as different groupings, when we were not united. We need to be united on this matter,” Zuma said.
The president showed he disagreed with the African National Congress (ANC) Parliament caucus, which refused to accept the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) offer to amend the constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.
“Those who are in parliament where laws are made, particularly Black parties, on this issue should unite, because we need 2/3rds majority to effect change in the constitution,” he said. “We can’t fight over nothing and not deal with the real issues when we are where the laws are made.
Zuma said the willing buyer willing seller principle had not worked effectively.
“It made the State a price taker in an unfair process. In addition, there are too many laws dealing with land reform which causes confusion and delays,” he said. “You can claim land today, by the time your people get it, you will be dead.”
The President then reiterated his stance on changing the law to allow for the taking of land without compensation.
“First we must undertake a pre-colonial audit of land ownership, use and occupation patterns. Once the audit has been completed, a single law should be developed to address the issue of land restitution without compensation,” Zuma said. “The necessary constitutional amendments would then be undertaken to effect this process.”
On the land issue, the president spoke out of script, largely moving away from his written speech.