South African President Jacob Zuma has announced his country will embark on a land reform in a “constitutional” manner, differing from Zimbabwe’s haphazard way, which drove away hundreds of white farmers and left thousands of farm workers jobless.
Speaking during his opening address at labour body Cosatu’s four-day central committee meeting at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand on Monday, Zuma hinted that his country will address the issue of land after “careful consultation”.
According to reports here, Zuma shot down the ANC Youth League’s proposal to have a land reform similar to Zimbabwe’s in which the government would expropriate the land without compensation.
Instead, Zuma said land reform required “careful handling and consultation” saying his administration intended to establish the office of the valuer-general to regulate the value of land and the market.
Zuma said that would protect the government from “unscrupulous” people who overvalued land meant for restitution.
A land management commission would also be established which will have the power to review title deeds and payments involving land. Furthermore, a land rights management board that will regulate the government’s agri-villages and offer legal support will be introduced.
Although taking a leaf from Zimbabwe’s experiences, Zuma’s approach is totally different from his northern neighbour which has virtually paralysed the once-vibrant agricultural sector.
Millions of black South Africans here are landless and the announcement by Zuma is sweet music to the generally marginalised communities in this country.
The ANC Youth League, led by controversial Julius Malema, has been advocating for a land reform similar to Zimbabwe’s. Malema is also calling for the nationalisation of South Africa’s mines.
Zuma took a swipe at Malema at the same gathering saying the youth leader has a tendency of jumping the gun.