Land hearings are about more power for corrupt ANC, than the people - Maimane
The current debate on expropriation of land without compensation was driven by the African National Congress seeking to secure more power for the corrupt and elite, than to help the people.
This is the view of Democratic Alliance leader, Mmusi Maimane, who was speaking to members of the public outside of the Constitutional Review Committee land hearing in Goodwood, Cape Town, on Saturday.
Maimane said it appeared the ANC didn’t care about the opinions of the people of the Western Cape, as the party had already declared that it would definitely be changing section 25 of the Constitution.
"So it appears these land hearings are about ticking boxes, not consulting South Africans," he said.
Maimane said the DA remained committed to land reform and believed that it was essential to redress the ills of South Africa's past.
"South Africa’s history of racial dispossession has left the country with skewed patterns of ownership that excludes most South Africans from land. This must be fixed.
"In fact, DA-run governments are miles ahead in terms of instituting real, meaningful land reform that empowers those left behind," he said.
Maimane said the ANC’s approach has been to put more land into state ownership, and then lease it to black South Africans, turning them into perpetual tenants, dependent on the government for survival.
"It has become clear that these hearings, and this debate, is not about the people and progress. It is about power and holding onto it.
"When President Cyril Ramaphosa, as ANC president, used the SABC to make a Zuma-style late-night announcement on Wednesday, he wasn’t thinking about land or justice. He was thinking about keeping the ANC together and neutralising the electoral threat of his new populist pals in red," he said.
"Or maybe it is about buying the EFF’s support, so that they can get back control of metros like NMB (Nelson Mandela Bay), that they ran into the ground with their corruption and maladministration," Maimane said.
Maimane said the ANC was gambling with the livelihoods of the people.
"Our economy is already in a terrible state. In the first quarter of this year it contracted by 2.2%. This week, we learnt that unemployment has gone up. Almost 10 million adults are now without work.
He said land expropriation without compensation was not the silver bullet that would ensure justice.
"It will undermine private property rights and hurt our economy and jobs. It will scare away investment which is vital for job creation and economic growth," he said.
"To protect themselves, the ANC is leading SA down a slippery slope that leads to random land grabs, random deprivation of private property, empty supermarket shelves and empty stomachs.
Maimane said Ramaphosa knew this, but was willing to put populism over principle and process.
"By making this announcement before the completion of the Constitutional Review Committee’s hearings, he is undermining Parliament and he is undermining the public participation process," he said.
Maimane said Ramaphosa knew that the Constitution didn’t need to be changed to accelerate land reform, it just needed to be implemented.
"The Constitution already allows for effective land reform, including for expropriation without compensation in specific instances. In fact, the Constitution doesn’t only enable effective land reform, it demands it," he said.
Maimane said the ANC was using the Constitution as a scapegoat to deflect blame for their own land reform failures, blighted by corruption, incompetence and underfunding.