BLF wants 'all the land in white hands'

While the Black First Land First (BLF) movement wants "all the land in white hands" to be transferred to black hands, there was also a call for a "Codesa" on land reform in South Africa at the Joint Constitutional Review Committee sitting on Wednesday.

BLF leader Andile Mngxitama addressed the committee on the second day of oral submissions of the committee's hearings even though he describes the committee's process on the review of section 25 of the Constitution as the "biggest farce since Codesa".

"BLF supports the call to amend section 25 of the Constitution so that all land in the hands of white people is returned to the hands of black people, all that land which is currently in the hands of white people. And that includes land in Orania, land in Stellenbosch, all that land must be returned," he said.

"Land expropriation must ensure land returns to the hands of black people.

"The problem is white people have stolen our land," Mngxitama said.

"All land, all of it, unused, used, productive, unproductive belongs to black people." 

"Orania and other white people have no right to this land. And you must return it."

Mngxitama also said the Constitution was very bad for black people.

"I'm a proud constitutional delinquent," he said.

Earlier president of the National African Farmer's Union (NAFU) Motsepe Matlala delivered his submission to the committee.

He called for an "agricultural Codesa" to find common ground between white and black farmers. 

"We can't say the white farmers must be wiped out," he said.

He said this would help create a situation where there were "no white farmers, no black farmers".

"There will be South African farmers. That is what we want to achieve."

NAFU supports the nationalisation of land.

"We consider the land to be priceless. It should not be sold."

He said section 25 of the Constitution should be amended to differentiate between land and buildings. 

'Implementation' of policy the problem

AgriSA's deputy CEO Christo van der Rheede said the organisation acknowledged the indignity, pain and economic suffering caused by past policies and it was committed to land reform.

However, they were opposed to the amendment of the Constitution.

"It is not the Constitution that is failing people," he said. He said the failure to implement land reform was a bureaucratic one.

"The real problem is implementation," said his colleague, Dr Annelize Crosby, AgriSA's policy adviser on land reform.

She also said it was definitely the case that there already was an economic effect due to the uncertainty caused by the current land debate.

She clarified that AgriSA was not opposed to expropriation, but to expropriation without compensation.

Van der Reede said section 25 made it clear that nothing should stand in the way of land reform, and that it was beyond his grasp why the state never used it.

Directly after BLF, Orania founder Carel Boshoff's son Carel Boshoff Jr presented to the committee. He took his seat while Mngxitama and other BLF members were leaving, and Mngxitama said: "Phansi, Orania! Phansi!" 

EFF MP Floyd Shivambu asked committee chairperson Lewis Nzimande to "stop the foolishness". The BLF members started screaming at Shivambu as they left the Old Assembly Chamber, with ANC MP Loyiso Mpumlwana showing them the door. 

Boshoff, who is Orania's current president, pointed out that he was seated close to the spot where his grandfather, Hendrik Verwoerd, was murdered. Thursday will mark 52 years since the incident.

He did not support an amendment to the Constitution.

"When Afrikaners hear about land expropriation, it reminds us of what we have been experiencing in terms of the expropriation of cultural spaces, of schools, of our language in education and in the public sector," he said.

UDM MP Mncedisi Filtane said he found this comment "unpalatable".

After Orania, the Afrikanerbond, formerly known as the Broederbond – a secretive organisation for Christian, Afrikaans men who controlled the political and cultural levers of apartheid South Africa – made its presentation. The organisation also does not support expropriation without compensation, as it believes it will lead to an economic catastrophe. However, it said it does support land reform.

The South African Institute for Race Relations also delivered a submission against an amendment.

Several organisations who made submissions on Wednesday supported an amendment, including the Apostolic Faith Mission, the Black Lawyers Association and the National Association of Democratic Lawyers.

Dr Marc Wegerif of the Human Economy Programme at the University of Pretoria described the review of section 25 as an "exciting opportunity". He said there should be a formula for when compensation should be paid and when not. 

The hearings will continue on Thursday.

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