Land Reform in South Africa

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR ORAL REPLY

DATE: 24 August 2005

QUESTION NUMBER: 13

The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the Deputy President:

(1) With reference to her remarks on Wednesday, 10 August 2005 to the effect that a few lessons were learnt from Zimbabwe on how to do and reform fast and that some skills might be needed from Zimbabwe to help us with land reform in South Africa, (a) what methods does she propose we learn from Zimbabwe and (b) what skills does she propose we import from Zimbabwe;

(2) whether she discussed her views on this matter with the Presidential Economic Advisory Council before making these remarks; if not, with whom did she discuss the advisability of making these remarks; if so, (a) what were the views expressed by members of the Council and (b) what was the outcome of these discussions?

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REPLY:

Honourable member, I really doubt if anyone in this House can deny that there are enormous problems with land ownership patterns in our country.

The fact that we have these problems is not surprising given the centuries of wars of dispossession and later racially based colonial and apartheid laws and policies designed specifically to drive black people off their land. It is as a result of this history that in 1994, 87% of agricultural land was owned by white people.

Honourable members, the Preamble of our Constitution enjoins us to "Recognise the injustices of the past" and in adopting the Constitution to "Heal the divisions of the past". Our Constitution therefore requires us to deal with land redistribution.

I am convinced that no one in this House can deny that land redistribution has been moving too slowly. Government has set a target of redistributing 30% of agricultural land to the previously
disadvantaged by 2014. As of June this year only 3% had been redistributed.

We want to avoid the problems that have occurred in Zimbabwe - that 20 years after liberation, land redistribution remained incomplete.

We want to avoid a situation where, because land reform has taken too long, both the Government and the people must resort to desperate measures. Indeed we can learn from the experiences of Zimbabwe as we can learn from the experiences of many other countries.

I urge all Honourable members to assist in speeding up land redistribution in our country.

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