After a plenary debate, so furious as to have threatened the collapse of its conference last Wednesday, the African National Congress (ANC) announced a decision to allow for land expropriation without compensation… subject to a “sustainability test” to ensure that food security is not threatened, and the economy not undermined.
Is the new ANC President making populist noise for political positioning? Is he admitting continuing ANC land distribution failure?
The decision has been criticised as being an “economic time bomb”; “economic suicide”. It is said that the decision is vague; that financial markets will divest; that investor confidence will be shattered.
It is said that there is anger, but also acceptance for a sustainable solution. Only one fact is certain: people are in a panic and at best uncertain of the ANC’s renewed land expropriation drive.
The United Democratic Movement (UDM) therefore urges Government to call an immediate summit of all stakeholders, including – but not limited to – political parties, business, agricultural and civil rights role-players, to clarify the intention and the procedure and the effect of the ANC’s land expropriation decision:
• What is the exact meaning of “expropriation” in the decision?
• Who will be affected?
• What is the nature and what the variables of the “sustainability test”?
• How does “food security” and “economic stability” impact implementation – does it, for instance, prevent expropriation in specific circumstances, and what would such circumstances be?
• How will expropriation affect traditional leaders, and rural communities; how will entities such as the Ingonyama Trust, among others, be impacted?
• What will be the effect of expropriation on the land tenure system?
The summit, in considering land expropriation, should address also the direct and indirect impact of land decisions on the economy, poverty, unemployment and even on education.
Land remains the matter screaming for resolution, ever since Codesa. Land speaks to the very heart of freedom: economic emancipation. A resolution is long overdue; the irresolution negligent; the ongoing uncertainty a dismal and continuing failure by the government.
The effect of the ANC’s unilateral decision must be determined by all stakeholders; land expropriation cannot lie with ANC conference delegates alone.
The UDM is ready and able to take its seat in addressing South Africa’s most pressing and ill attended problems, nay crises, at a summit indistinguishable in importance to Codesa, where our hitherto qualified freedom had been forged.
Mr Ramaphosa, we have heard you at conference; let us now see and experience your inclusive, unifying leadership.
Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP and UDM President