Is Land Expropriation A Ploy For Votes?

Philipina Ndamane holds up some of the vegetables she has grown in the Abalama Bezehkaya garden in Guguletu, Cape Town, South Africa on the 9th June, 2009. The Abalami Bezehkaya project, teaches people better farming techniques and sells fresh produce weekly to generate incomes for the farmers involved. PICTURE: Brown Political Review

JOHANNESBURG: The current debate on land expropriation without compensation has once again been pushed into the spotlight after the Land Summit this weekend.

The Summit, which resulted in several resolutions by members of the public and members of the African National Congress (ANC) has been met with mixed feelings.

 

While there are those who commend the ANC for setting the motion in the land debate, there are those who maintain that this is just a last ditch for the party to get votes in the next elections.

Moeletsi Mbeki, political and economics analyst, says that nobody wants this land.

“Why is the ANC all of a sudden saying it’s going to expropriate land? The ANC’s vote in the last municipal was down to 54%… which is why it’s fishing around for all kinds of sensational policies that it thinks the population will vote for it.”

However, the ANC NEC member Ronald Lamola insists that the issue of land has always been a priority of the ANC. 

Speaking to a Johannesburg-based radio station, Power FM, “It can’t be an election ploy because it was a resolution of conference that instructed this NEC to urgently attend to it because there is a clear need for it around the country but especially in the urban areas,” Lamola said.

 

In light of this, many have argued that the ANC had plenty of time to deal with the land issue over the years. They question why expropriation never occurred if the Constitution has always allowed for it. In this regard, they believe that it is suspicious that the party is only now making massive noise about the issue.

Lamola added that he understands why people are apprehensive about the ANC and the issue of land. However, he argues that the party had put the Expropriation Bill to parliament in 2008, and then again in 2014, where problems were raised about its current standing.

According to him, the ANC is only getting it right now after going through years of reviewing the bill. In addition, the seriousness and escalation of land grabs around the country have resulted in a reinvigorated urgency to the issue of land.