A proper land audit needs to be done in Mpumalanga

By Bosman Grobler MPL, DA Spokesperson on Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs:

The following debate was delivered today by DA Spokesperson on Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs, Bosman Grobler MPL, during a sitting on questions for oral reply to the MEC’s at Ehlanzeni District Council Chambers.

Hon Speaker, it was musician Ray Davies who said, “Money and corruption are ruining the land, crooked politicians betray the working man, pocketing the profits and treating us like sheep, and we’re tired of hearing promises that we know they’ll never keep”. Ray wrote these lyrics in 1973, it they still hold truth to this day.

Before we can have an honest debate on land restitution, we need to have a proper land audit done in this province. We need to know what land is owned by the state and what land is owned by private entities and individuals. Further to that, we need to know what the state is doing with residential property in its ownership, we also need to know which properties owned by the private sector are for sale.

Hon Speaker, the issue of land restitution is a very important one. I’ll admit that the ruling party is taking the matter seriously, the problem is with their approach to the matter. One day the ruling party cites “willing buyer, willing seller” as their principle, and the next day it’s “hand over 50% of your land.” This can’t be the case, the ruling party needs to develop a firm policy stance on the matter, and fully implement it, without wavering and resorting to populist rhetoric when the going gets tough.

Further to that, the ANC needs to support CPA’s after the restitution has occurred. The DA maintains its view that this government is setting up our people for failure. How can it be that over 90% of Land restitution programs are failing in this province? How can government allow this to happen? To once again quote Ray’s words, “We are sick and tired of being promised this and that. We work all day, we sweat and slave to keep the wealthy fat. They fill our heads with promises and bamboozle us with facts, then they put on false sincerity then they laugh behind our backs.” Fortunately in our case, you laugh to our faces, and “we can see you”.

Hon. Members, I shall refrain from commenting on the large scale on corruption in this province when it comes to land restitution as this is a topic on its own, which I hope this house will debate soon.

Moving on, Hon Speaker, the EFF has got one thing on their mind and that is land reform. If I had the Slogan, Economic Freedom in our lifetime, I would much rather spend time on developing ways and means make this economy grow. We need the economy to grow by 8% per year, to ensure that jobs are created, in order to alleviate poverty.  If we are able to create jobs, residents will be able to earn capital to spend on whatever they deem fit, whether it be buying shares in companies, saving for a nest egg or buying land.

The DA’s point of view on this matter is easy. Property rights is in fact one of the three pillars of liberalism. The DA believes that every person has the right to own land, to own the title deed of the land he owns, and should be able to use this title deed either as security to loan from a bank, or to sell and get income.

We have to however make a very big distinction between land for agriculture and land for residential purpose. 4 minutes is too little to give the DA’s entire plan for the restitution of land. I do however want to invite all members of this house to go and read what successes the Western Cape government has under the stern leadership of Minister Alan Winde. A visionary plan with the best success rate to reform land this country has ever seen.

What I can say to highlight is the following: I am sure this will be quite a rude awakening if we can see how many private sector owners are willing to sell their land. This is mainly due to the uncertainty private owners have, due to a lack of leadership by the ANC. Private owners are not willing to invest capital into infrastructure on their property because they are not sure where this is going. This is a huge threat to our food security in the medium and long term.

Hon Speaker, the DA has the plan to effectively reform land. Resident of this province should just give us a chance to implement this policy.

I thank you.