A new idea on land issue

2007-12-03 00:00

LAND, or its ownership, is one of the most emotive issues imaginable, which explains the sensitivities around its handling in South Africa.

For reasons to do with historical deprivation and short-sighted and self-serving government policies, large swathes were set aside for exclusive occupation by white farmers.

The corollary was discriminatory practices against black people, epitomised by the infamous forced removals under the segregationist policies of the apartheid government.

To redress things, the year of 1913 was chosen as a departure point for the restitution of victims of forced removals and dispossession of land rights.

Restitution is closely linked to the need for the redistribution of land — to provide the disadvantaged and poor with access to land for residential and productive purposes — and tenure reform that aims to bring all people occupying land under a unitary legally validated system of landholding, and to accommodate diverse forms of land tenure.

While there’s no question about the need for land reform, it remains a pity that the programme is weakened by a faultline along racial lines — white landowner versus black aspirant owner, white farm targeted for black owner, and so on.

There’s another consideration though, one that involves the traditional chiefs, who hold in trusteeship vast tracts of so-called trust lands on behalf of their subjects.

Much of these lands have great, if unrealised, potential for agricultural production and food security, they remain unproductive for any number of reasons.

By targeting these unproductive land areas, government would link land reform and development much better than by soft-targeting productive farms. Perhaps then, and only then, will its dreams of accelerated agricultural production come to fruition.

Such a policy would demand extraordinary political will though, one we believe to be lacking now, and for some time to come.

Party priorities

THEY may cry poverty, lack of funds, and no budgets, but that’s not going to stop the uMgungundlovu District Municipality from splashing out on a Christmas bash.

Rumour has it that the powers that be have have budgeted R90 000 for this purpose, but on account of its policy not to respond to media inquiries, we were unable to verify the amount. We’re keen to find out where the party will be staged though, so we can gate-crash it and see how public money is blown.

Hallowed City Hall

EXPECT the burgeoning car park in front of city hall to make way for an unclattered appearance.

Municipal manager Rob Haswell recommended that only the mayor’s vehicle be allowed to park there, and that the deputy mayor, manager in the office of the mayor, himself, and the speaker who asked for permission, must park elsewhere.

“Our city hall is a national monument, and as such, it behoves us not only to maintain not the building itself, but also not to allow anything that detracts from the appearance and setting of the building,” he said.

Rand’s ride

THE swell outside the Durban harbour on Friday aboard the Spirit of Elan made for an apt analogy of the behaviour of the rand on the international currency market. The reason for its volatility relates to its perceived risk by fickle investors who love it when the sailing is smooth, but are the first to pull the plug when turmoil hits the markets.

Much as domestic matters cloud perceptions, the reality is that the rand is evaluated on global terms and its rollicking ride is pretty much a reflection of how emerging markets are viewed.

This is the word from Adrian Clayton, CEO of Alphen Asset Management, who was on board as a guest of strategic alliance partner Finplanning.com, and specifically, Steve Ikin.

Hot cakes

THE Women in Business diary has been the talk of the town, and was formally launched at Virgin Active on Friday,

Word has it that demand has well exceeded initial expectations, and that the orginal order of 200 escalated to 400 and now sits at 600. The point is that those people who are after one of these unusual but professional business tools, had better pay and place their orders fast.

Second-best plates

WHAT is it with vanity platers who are as original as their greased porcupine hairstyles? I mean, here we have chaps who, other than a proclivity for looking through a steering wheel and not over it, appear to be mostly intelligent, even if they strive towards some dubious group identity.

How else does one explain Awsom4, or Sexy12?

Does it denote their rank in the chicken coop, or is that all the imagination can muster? Why bother if the best you can do is aping someone else’s identity?

derekalberts@mweb.co.za

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