Head of the ANC’s 2019 election campaign Fikile Mbalula has called on the party in Limpopo to use expropriation of land without compensation to deal with inequality and escalating unemployment, especially among young people.
In an address to the ANC election manifesto stakeholders forum outside Polokwane on Saturday, he advised them to equip young people with technical and entrepreneurial skills in agriculture and food production as Limpopo had some of the most fertile soil in the country.
“Razzmatazz”, as he is known, said this land could best be used to stop unemployment among young people getting worse and as a conduit for them to enter the mainstream economy.
He also urged the minister of rural development and land reform to open more agricultural colleges so more young people could be trained in agriculture-related fields in a bid to grow the SA economy.
Mbalula said the party was concerned about the dismal performance of Limpopo and five other provinces, which lost support in the last general elections in 2014.
According to a report, Limpopo ANC membership declined by 19% between 2012 and 2013 and by 25% between 2013 and 2015.
He said that to increase the party’s membership and win the 2019 general elections, the ANC should use President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Thuma Mina campaign to create jobs.
“The Thuma Mina campaign is aimed at addressing people’s issues on the ground and dealing with service delivery related issues,” he said.
“This should include the issuing of title deeds, revamping of streets and community roads, helping to fight crime, fixing leaking taps and pipes, helping disgruntled people with home affairs issues.
“In an endeavour to ensure a decisive victory in the next general elections, the ANC needs to ensure that people get their identity documents in time and register to vote,” he said.
The newly appointed MEC for agriculture, party deputy provincial secretary and head of the election campaign in Limpopo, Bioskop Makamu told The Citizen his department had implemented programmes to enable young people, especially women and the disabled, to become involved in agriculture.
“We are ready for expropriation given the huge tracts of land we have in the province. Our province is rich and fertile and we are ready to swell the economy by employing young people in food production and agriculture in general,” he said.
Party provincial secretary Soviet Lekganyane said the ANC should make every effort to win back Mookgophong, Modimolle and Thabazimbi municipalities. They are currently run by a coalition of the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Democratic Alliance.
Political analyst Lesiba Tefo said the use of land expropriation as a political football ahead of the 2019 national elections could not be ruled out.
“There is no question that there is an urgent need for land distribution to those who want to venture into agriculture and food production. But it must be clear that it should not go to a connected few and the elite, but instead to those who would use it to change their lives, that of their families and communities.”
Last month, AfriForum claimed that 139 farms had been earmarked by government for expropriation. The farms reportedly belong to farmers who previously rejected offers under the willing buyer, willing seller model.