DA Free State Premier Candidate
Note: This is a speech delivered by the DA Free State Premier Candidate, Patricia Kopane, in Matjhabeng.
Goeie more aan almal wat hier vandag byeen gekom het. Dit is vir my ‘n eer om saam met julle hier te wees.
Recently there have been some misconceptions about the DA’s stance on land reform and specifically our position on the reopening of land claims.
It is unfortunate that our political opponents, the ANC on one side and the FF+ on the other chose to again racialise this very sensitive issue.
Soos Helen Zille in haar weeklikse nuusbrief gese het, die ANC het slegs ‘n eenvoudige strategie wat hulle volg om ‘n verkiesing te wen. Hulle hoef bloot net te verseker dat die kiesers volgens historiese foutlyne verdeeld bly, die foutlyne is ras en etnisiteit.
The DA realises that in order for this beautiful country of ours to succeed, we all need to work together, black, white, coloured, Indian and all other individuals who call themselves South African.
Our task in the DA is to bring people together. We want to unite the nation. To ensure that every South African can have the life they deserve. Our project is to create an Open, Opportunity Society, where everyone, regardless of race and background will have access to equal opportunities.
Our goals are more difficult to achieve compared to that of our detractors, because we want to unite, and our detractors can so easily use issues such as land reform to divide.
Maar ons moet ook eerlik wees met mekaar.
The injustices of the 1913 Land Act had a real tangible emotional and economic impact on the majority of South Africans. It expropriated land from blacks without compensation and forced them live in far flung places away from infrastructure and jobs. It marginalised our people and divided our society. It was the foundation on which Grand Apartheid was built.
Maar wat moet ons vandag meer as a honderdjaar later met grondhervorming doen?
This is where the DA’s position has always remained clear.
The DA supports an orderly and lawful land reform programme which compensates people who have been dispossessed of their land. We believe that if well managed such a land reform programme would boost rural economies across South Africa.
There are many ways to address the land question, and the land reform programme. One such method that we have successfully implemented in the Western Cape is the farm equity schemes. We have an 80% success rate, which is perhaps why the ANC-led national government has stopped funding them.
With farm equity schemes we negotiate share transfers to beneficiaries paid for by the State as part of the land reform programme. This model ensures that farms continue to produce, and much needed skills transfers and development takes place between experienced farmers and beneficiaries. Farm equity schemes create a mutually beneficial relationship between farmers and beneficiaries.
Maar hoekom maak die ANC so ‘n groot bohaai met die heropening van grondeise?
The ANC knows that it has failed in its land reform programme. So to buy time and exploit people’s emotions they keep on moving the goal posts for its own selfish gain. They blame the ‘willing buyer-willing seller’ mechanism claiming farmers refuse to sell land to the State, yet it is the State that fails to procure land. In some instances where the government actually bought land they have failed to transfer it to claimants.
The entire Department of Land Reform and Rural Development is overloaded with a corrupt and incapacitated system. Its own programmes have failed repeatedly.
This has largely contributed to the decline of South Africa’s rural economy. In 1994 we had more than 120 000 productive farmers. Today we have about 37 000 productive farmers left. Many farmers are moving to neighbouring countries where they are received with open arms for the skills and development they bring to those countries. South African farmers are becoming a sought after commodity in Africa and even as far as Georgia in Eastern Europe and Portugal.
The DA does, however, also recognise that some people were deprived of the opportunity to lodge land claims before the 1998 deadline due to the inefficiency of the government. We can’t allow these legitimate claimants to be penalised because of the government’s incompetence.
Dit is waarom die DA ‘n ‘wen-wen’ uitkoms met grondhervorming wil bereik.
This is why we will continue to fight for amendments to the legislation so that we can ensure that nobody have their Rights infringed upon.
Only once our concerns are addressed and the State can ensure that conditions for a successful restitution process are in place will we support the reopening of land claims for a limited period.
The DA has a detailed policy on Land Reform that details how a DA government will manage the land reform process. This policy can be easily accessed on our website. We believe that our approach can fix the shambles created by the ANC over the last 20 years.
Land reform is not just about taking land from farmers. In almost 90% of cases, claimants opt for financial compensation. During public meetings the ANC expressed shock at this phenomenon.
Dit wys net uit dat die ANC self nie weet, of wil weet, wat die mense in Suid-Afrika wil hê nie.
Today I also want to reassure you that the DA will not support any action that will compromise the Constitution.
Ons verstaan hoe moeilik dit is om onder die huidige omstandighede te boer.
Last year we requested the provincial government to declare parts of the Free State as drought areas, so that we could extend relief to struggling farmers. The ANC government refused to entertain our request.
Agriculture in the Free State is on a drastic decline. Over the last 10 years this sector has shed more than 39 000 jobs. We also know that this very important industry faces serious challenges, with little or no support from government.
But it is this industry that produces the food we need as a nation and it is one of the most labour intensive sectors. It is crucial to create employment and drive economic growth in our province through investment in agriculture.
The Free State is famous as one of the country’s agricultural hubs. Yet, many of our rural communities struggle as agricultural jobs become more difficult to come by.
A DA government will implement mentorship programmes and partnerships that will give emerging farmers additional support.
We would also champion Agro-processing and bio-fuels production in the Free State.
The DA government in the Free State will initiate a comprehensive rehabilitation programme for all roads across the province. We will also spearhead initiatives to identify the need for the construction of new roads. This will greatly improve the connectivity between economic and job centres and ease the free movement of our people. It will also increase the productivity of our agricultural sector.
As the DA we are also aware of the safety and security situation in our rural areas. Criminal activities happen regularly in both white and black rural communities. It is imperative that we ensure the safety and security of all South Africans, especially in our agricultural sector.
This is why a DA government will launch a programme where we subsidise and support Community Policing Forums, in partnership with the SAPS.
Ons waardeer wat julle dag in en dag uit vir die res van Suid-Afrika doen om ons tafels van kos te voorsien.
Kom on stap saam die toekoms in om a beter Suid-Afrika vir al ons mense te bou.