Mark Steele, MPP
Allister Sparks is absolutely correct to highlight the shameful failure of the ANC in government to address the issue of land ownership in the traditional or communal areas.
The reality is that 20 years after the advent of democracy, people living in communal land areas still do not enjoy the same rights to own, buy and sell property that everyone else in South Africa has enjoyed since the colonial era to the present. Live in Westville and you can buy any property you like, provided of course you can afford the bond repayments. But live in a traditional area which falls under the Ingonyama Trust and you can never own your own title to the property you live in. This means no incentive to invest in improvements to the property, to leave it as an inheritance, to raise a second mortgage or simply to sell it because you wish to live somewhere else.
These are all rights which, since 1994, are now freely available to all who live in a democratic and non-racial South Africa, but not for all the people still locked away under traditional authorities who control their access to communal land.
This discrimination ought to be anathema to any party which upholds the principles of freedom in a constitutional democracy with a Bill of Rights. It is an issue upon which the voters of KwaZulu-Natal will have a clear choice in 2014 because it is only the Democratic Alliance which has adopted a formal policy commitment to ‘introduce new legislation to abolish feudal land tenure and create appropriate transitional arrangements to move from insecure tenure to secure property rights’.
It is a choice which millions of KZN citizens can make in their own interests and change forever the land ownership regime under which they currently live.