Discussions surrounding land expropriation without compensation have dominated the National Forum for Dialogue on Land, Heritage and Human Rights in Illovo, Johannesburg, Sandton Chronicle reports.
The forum, hosted at the Gordon Institute of Business Science, saw major industry role players, including Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe and Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, attend.
Conversations about land expropriation without compensation have become hotly contested since a motion by the Economic Freedom Fighters was passed in parliament.
Mantashe said there was a need to dismantle the narrative that black ownership of land was equivalent to the destruction of food security.
"We must ensure that we do not undermine future investment in the economy, or damage agricultural production & food security"
— Gwede Mantashe (@GwedeMantashe1) March 27, 2018
Farming is a high risk, low profit margin venture. New farmers need committed recap and development. Training and Mentorship is the key #LandReformDialogue
— Grain SA Farmer Development Programme (@gsafarmerdev) March 27, 2018
Mantashe added the land debate was not about driving white people to the sea, rather, it was about the fair distribution of land or wealth. “When you restore land‚ you are not expropriating but restoring people’s dignity through access to land,” he said.
#GwedeMantashe says South Africans need to talk to each other about land. It’s not about driving whites into the sea but about fair distribution of land. #LandReformDialogue pic.twitter.com/VSrjUvBGE2
— Ferial Haffajee (@ferialhaffajee) March 27, 2018
He added the land that would be made available must be productive, and land that is owned by the state must be the first to be expropriated.
Recent land grabs in Marlboro and Olivenhoutbosch have caused widespread fear, but Mantashe said there would be no place for anarchy.
“Anarchy must not be allowed to flourish, it must be dealt with and we must allow law enforcement agencies to do their work.”
Mathole Motshekga of the Justice Portfolio Committee, and Constitutional Review Committee member said nobody should feel threatened by this process and this was why there was a discussion.
#LandDialogue Justice Portfolio Committee & Constitutional Review Committee Member Mathole Motshekga "Land dispossession is characterised by pain and the reform programme seeks to correct that pain."
— Nompumelelo Ngubeni (@MpumiNgubeni) March 27, 2018
“We all have a responsibility, black and white, to find a solution to an outstanding question,” said Motshekga.
“Therefore, no one should feel threatened by the process that is unfolding in parliament. There is a deepening moral degeneration and there is a triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality which flows from the failure to address the land question.”
Motshekga concluded that it was not a matter of black against white, but rather a problem facing all South Africans.
“Let’s join hands and take it as a part of the new dawn that President [Cyril] Ramaphosa has spoken about.”