Heeding Ramaphosa's call for a new dawn with land expropriation without compensation

Mathole Motshekga

It is not blasphemous to characterise land dispossession as the original sin. In his "new dawn" speech in Parliament during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa could not have found better words to describe land dispossession as the original sin.

This characterisation of land dispossession by the president brought out his deep spirituality and humanness that was last evident in OR Tambo, MaSisulu and Nelson Mandela. This deep spirituality and humanness testifies eloquently to the underlying reason for the revolutionary pilgrimage that Pesident Ramaphosa undertook to renew and reconnect the ANC with the revolutionary morality of its founders.

The triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality which degrades and dehumanises black people in general and Africans in particular is the direct result of the original sin.

The shacks that have become the permanent features of the City of Cape Town, the seat of Parliament, which are frequently catching fire or are swept away by floods as and when it rains are the exhibits of the original sin that President Ramaphosa speaks of.

When Nelson Mandela spoke of the recovery of the dignity of black people as a prerequisite for the recovery of the dignity of all South Africans, both black and white, he was addressing the challenges arising from the original sin. The "new dawn" speech of President Ramaphosa makes him a reincarnation of Madiba’s vision and mission.

His new dawn vision refers in particular to the African redemption or liberation that underpinned the Ethiopian (or Black African) theology which catalysed the birth of African nationalism.

All progressive parties in the South African Parliament swallowed their pride and supported the EFF motion, as amended by the ANC, on expropriation of land without compensation. The concurrence of all progressive political parties represented the rebirth of South African constitutionalism and Parliament as envisaged by Nelson Mandela and validated President Ramaphosa's new dawn vision as the clarion call of the African (or 21st) century.

- Dr Mathole Motshekga is chairperson of the Cultural and Religious Affairs subcommittee of the ANC NEC.

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