The 1913 Natives Land Act was not a ‘nice’ piece of legislation

Mark Steele, MPP

Democratic Alliance KZN Spokesperson on Agriculture

Current proposals, which include re-opening the land claims register to communities which failed to meet the previous cut-off date, would indeed benefit a number of KZN communities, which have, to date, unsuccessfully petitioned for consideration under the present restitution act.  These proposals also seek to include the rights of the first people – the Khoi, San, Griqua and Khorana – who were of course dispossessed long before 1913 by both black and white settlers.

But a DA led government would go further than that of the present government when it came to addressing these legacies of dispossession, discrimination and exclusion.  Put simply, the DA would seek to do what the ANC has, since 1996, consistently failed to do.  That is to bring black South Africans into exactly the same property ownership regime which white South Africans have enjoyed since before 1913.

Our proposal on land reform in KwaZulu-Natal is bold and entails a great deal of change in attitude and practice for many people.  But the pressure for such change is building.  We would also confront the elephant in the room – the communal lands currently held by traditional authorities and in particular the Ingonyama Trust – which controls nearly 40% of the total land in the province, including some of its best agricultural potential.

The ANC cannot keep people in an era of race based differentiation forever.  That, after all was what we sought to achieve in ending apartheid and adopting a constitution which gives equal rights to all citizens.

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