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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

DA says yes to land reform, no to land grabs: Maimane

Land reform should be done 'according to the constitution, so people - not the state - can use their land to create wealth for themselves.'

The DA will not allow land grabs as pursued by the EFF, and will oppose any attempt to change the constitution in order to allow for land expropriation without compensation, as this policy would trample on individual property rights.
The party wants land given to the people, and not the state, so that they could be able to create wealth for themselves. Land under state control would be exposed to corruption by the ANC-led government.
This was the view of the DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, as he explained his party’s stance on land reform in Johannesburg yesterday.
In fact, Maimane said the DA supports land reform, including land redistribution to those who were marginalised by apartheid and colonial policies, but not in the way that the ANC and the EFF were trying to do by turning it into a racial issue.
While the DA supports land reform, and acknowledged that apartheid systematically disrupted and deprived the black majority of land ownership, it believed that land reform must be done according to the constitution.
“A support for the Constitution is not an anti-thesis for land reform. We envision a South Africa where every South African owns a property. If you own property you are able to commoditise it,” Maimane said.
Maimane said the ANC’s proposed state land ownership would effectively mean the abolition of all individual rights to property. If the country went the route being proposed by the ANC and EFF the poor would remain poor, as they won’t be given the skills to work the land. Under the ANC approach, title deeds would be a think while racial tension would increase.
“It should not be about stoking racial tension, that is not going to help the country. The ANC approach will strip all property owners of their land, there is no nice way of applying land expropriation without compensation,” Maimane said.
The DA’s envisaged land reform policy success rate was six times higher than the one proposed by the ANC government. People would be better off when they invest in property as individual owners to enable them to contribute to economic growth.
“Our objective is let us give land to the people not the state. People must own the land in their individual capacity. With land expropriation, you run the risk of running into a situation similar to that of Zimbabwe,” he said.
The DA would stick to the individual property ownership as a cardinal policy for the country, ensure that land ownership was made as easy and as cheap as possible, while people were given title deeds for their property. Anyone who wanted to farm would get the support he needed including skills training and mentorship.
Maimane said these were attainable without amending the constitution.
“We must accelerate land reform constitutionally, we want people to be not only owners of the land, but to be able to use it to create wealth for themselves,” Maimane said.
– ericn@citizen.co.za
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