Senior South African Ruling Party Leader Backs Land Seizures
One of the most influential leaders of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress backed a suggestion by President Jacob Zuma that the state be allowed to expropriate land without having to pay for it.
The ANC in Kwazulu-Natal, which has the most ANC members of the nine provinces, will be pushing for the sanctioning of land seizures at a party policy conference that begins June 30, said Sihle Zikalala, the party’s regional chairman.
“As KwaZulu-Natal, our proposition is expropriation of land with no compensation,” he said in an interview Wednesday in Johannesburg. “If we don’t agree on expropriation, we will have to take a view of ensuring that we mobilize for a referendum.’’
In an address to traditional leaders in Cape Town on March 3, Zuma called for an audit of land ownership, use and occupation patterns prior to the period when European settlers arrived in the country, and once it’s been completed for the law and constitution to be changed to address the issue of land restitution without compensation.
Two days later, the ANC released a discussion paper saying the state should pay fair compensation for any real estate it acquires to address racial inequality that persists almost 23 years after the end of white minority rule.
The ANC suffered its worst-ever electoral performance in a municipal vote in August, amid mounting discontent over high levels of poverty, unemployment and corruption. It’s won more than 60 percent of the vote in every national election since it took power in 1994.
The ANC must become more resolute in implementing its policies, or it will become irrelevant, Zikalala said.
“People will take it for granted,” he said. “They will see it as an organization that does not honor its decisions.”