President Cyril lied about the ANC’s position on having state custodianship of land, according to the opposition, who say this means South Africans can no longer “accept anything that Ramaphosa says because even if he means it the ANC simply ignores him and does the exact opposite.”
The ANC in the Section 25 Ad-hoc Committee on land reform this past week included the controversial state custodianship clause in their official proposal for the amendment of Section 25 of the constitution. Under this clause the state would be able to expropriate as much land as it deems necessary to enable equal access to land, while acting as the official custodian thereof, instead of formally redistributing it to beneficiaries.
The EFF has been pushing for this clause, while the ANC and DA had not been in full support for months, leading to the committee being unable to complete its work.
On Friday committee chairperson, Mathole Motshekga, warned that, if parties continued to squabble about the terms of the amendment, and they failed to find a solution to the land question, South Africa could end up in a similar situation as Zimbabwe, where land grabs led to white farmers being violently evicted from farms.
The ANC now having conceded that state custodianship should be the way forward, means it is more likely to get support from the Red Berets, meaning they would be able to pass the two thirds majority threshold needed to pass the amendment.
President Cyril Ramaphosa had recently said the ANC would not support the idea of state custodianship, as this “kill entrepreneurial spirit”.
DA MP Annelie Lotriet said in a statement that this about-face by his comrades in the Section 25 committee amounts to misleading the country, since the ANC would simply do what it wants without him.
“The implications of this about-turn is that South Africa cannot, at face value, accept anything that Ramaphosa says because even if he means it the ANC simply ignores him and does the exact opposite.”
She accused the ANC committee members of political pandering.
“In its blind rush to ensure the passing of the amendment at all costs, the ANC has thrown out all reason and is now openly pandering to the EFF. The EFF has been demanding ‘state custodianship’ in return for their support to achieve the two-thirds majority necessary to amend the constitution to explicitly allow for expropriation of property without compensation.”
She believes that state custodianship is simply nationalisation by another name, and warned that the governing party has proven itself incapable of managing anything it is supposed to administer.
“Almost every current example of state custodianship of land shows that it ruins agricultural productivity and keeps people trapped in poverty. Even with state ownership of land since its independence in 1975, the Mozambican economy has broadly been ineffective and inefficient at reducing poverty and providing a broader social and economic basis for development.
“The argument that ‘state custodianship’ will benefit emerging farmers, in whose interest the ANC claims to be doing this, is another ANC lie. Not only will farmers be permanent tenants of the state but will struggle to derive profits from their operations due to an inability to access finance.”
She said the DA will remain resolute in fighting the resolution, despite it being at a distinct numerical disadvantage should the ANC and EFF both decide to accept the proposed amendments.