At a joint press conference held on Thursday by the EFF with the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) at EFF headquarters, The secretary-general of the organisation representing the interests of tribal leadership, Zolani Mkiva, announced that they now fully back the EFF’s policy of land expropriation without compensation and want section 25 of the Consitution amended to allow this.
The two organisations have commited to host a land summit together in the coming months.
Last month, it was reported Contralesa was of the view that expropriating land under the charge of traditional leaders would amount to “neo-colonialism”.
Contralesa said communal land owned by black people should not be expropriated as it is “not part of the land that was stolen by colonialists”. However, they have now apparently changed their position.
While there has been some speculation as to what traditional leaders think of the idea of expropriation without compensation, with King Goodwill Zwelithini saying he will go to war if the Ingonyama Trust is dissolved and the laws surrounding it are changed, the organisation and the EFF now seem to be in agreement on the land issue.
“Section 25 of the constitution must be amended to allow for expropriation without compensation”, Mkiva said.
According to Mkiva, the national leadership of the two organisations met on June 11 and “discussed a wide range of leadership policies with a primary focus on the land question, rural development, the institution of traditional leadership and the 2019 elections”.
“To our mutual and pleasant surprise the two organisations found they shared common ground on all these issues,” Mkiva continued.
On land, Mkiva said: “We do not buy into the narrative as it currently stands regarding land, with market value being at the centre of the compensation regime, (we don’t believe this can be) a vehicle for a meaningful land distribution programme in our country,” Mkiva said.
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“We further agreed that the state should be the overall custodian of all South African land”, said Mkiva, adding by way of a concession to traditional leaders who are the custodians of their land: “As Africans and subscribers to pan-Africanism we also agree that the land that currently falls under the custodianship of traditional leaders will continue to be held as such subject to the primary and overall ownership of the state on behalf of the people.”
Contralesa believes that they and the EFF share the view that tribal land should be treated differently to land in the hands of white South Africans, though EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu explained in the same press conference that the ultimate view of the EFF remains that all land should be expropriated and the state should be the land custodian.
“Our view as Contralesa on the issue of expropriation without compensation is that we support that wholeheartedly and we believe that the Ingonyama Trust is an administrative instrument which has got its own problems”, said Mkiva.
“However the land under the administration of Ingonyama Trust is land under the administration of Africans, it is not stolen land. We want to make that very clear”, he added, saying that he does not want to see the issue shift to become mainly about land under the control of traditional leaders, wanting it rather to be about the “87 percent stolen land” owned by white people.
Malema added that they were not intimidated by the Zulu king’s recent pronouncements on protecting the Ingonyama Trust, saying that they saw his gathering this week on the issue as progressive.
Last month, Contralesa was also opposed to granting individual titles to those living on communal land under the jurisdiction of traditional leaders as this could lead to the risk of people selling the land for financial gain.
Other proponents who rejected the expropriation of land controlled by traditional leaders were the IFP’s Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Zwelithini.
Zwelithini has called on his subjects to rise up and defend land under the Ingonyama Trust – of which he is the sole trustee – after parliament voted in favour of an ANC-amended EFF motion on land expropriation without compensation.
According to its policy, the EFF wants all land ownership and custodianship to be transferred, without compensation, to the state so it can be used “for sustainable development purposes”.
The party says that once the land is controlled by the state, individuals using the land currently and those with the intent to do so would apply for land use licences for 25-year periods indicating how they would make use of the land.
The policy further states that no one should be allowed to own land forever, adding that, in summary, the state would provide extensive support for agrarian activity and small-scale farmers.
Additional reporting, Makhosandile Zulu.