Address by Mr Stanley Ntapane, MP in the Parliamentary Youth Day Debate: Centenary of the Native Land Act of 1913 (20 June 2013)
Mr Speaker, and Honourable Members,
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Natives Land Act of 1913, a piece of legislation which decreed that only certain areas of the country could be owned by black people. This led to a situation where the majority citizens owned only15 per cent of the land, while the minority groups owned the remaining 85 per cent.
We are aware that since 1994 Government has transferred millions of hectares of land over to people dispossessed under apartheid in an effort to implement effective redress through land restitution.
Despite the major strides, the legacy of the Land Act still lives on, as the majority citizens are still landless and have no access to land.
Numerous challenges with the current land redistribution programme also entrench the legacy of the Act.
Many beneficiaries of land redistribution programme have been complaining about inadequate post-settlement support. This lack of support has led to a situation, where some of them have had to sell back the land given to them by Government.
For example, according to media reports, the Sunset Game Lodge in Kimberly was bought for R18 million by the Department of Agriculture for the benefit of more than 100 women from the Province. However, due to a lack post-settlement support, the women found themselves in a difficult position, where they could not run the farm and ended up selling it back to the previous owner.
Another key hindrance to land redistribution and building a non-racist society are “pro-rich” housing developments. Every day golf estates, gated communities are developed, which give the rich access to the best land, while the poor have to make do with little or no land.
Often, the prices of the properties in these “pro-rich” settlements are inflated in order to keep the poor out of the market. On such example is a media report where a steel magnate bought a flat in Clifton, Cape Town for R198 million as a gift for his daughter. The question now remains: “How does one reverse the legacy of the Act when people charge exorbitant prices for properties that most South Africans cannot afford to pay?
This is sadly the case in all too many “pro-rich” settlements around the country and needs to be stopped.
These challenges, among others, require urgent attention, if we are to ensure that Government reaches its land redistribution target and that we build a racially integrated society.
I thank you.