Zuma contradicts ANC caucus on land reform

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma on Friday echoed his nemesis EFF leader Julius Malema's words on land reform, and contradicted the ANC caucus.

"The black parties should unite on this issue. We cannot fight about nothing," Zuma told the Council of Traditional Leaders, adding on to a statement he made earlier that the "majority of black Africans, in particular", should not differ in this regard, Netwerk24 reported.

The ANC caucus in Parliament voted against an EFF motion on Tuesday which asked that the Constitution be amended to make land expropriation without compensation possible.

Malema said on Tuesday: "So, we are saying black people, all of us must unite so that we can change the Constitution so that we can expropriate land without compensation. There is no white man that will understand it."

Zuma asked the Council of Traditional Leaders to support his programme of "radical socio-economic transformation", in which land reform was central.

His comments on black unity were not in his prepared speech.

Pre-colonial land ownership audit

"It is now time for action. The time for talking, writing and analysis is over," Zuma said.

He said the principle of willing seller, willing buyer was not effective.

"There are too many laws that deal with land reform, causing confusion and delays.

"You can claim land today, but only at the time when you're dead, your people will be given the land."

He said the government was looking at two "critical" steps.

Firstly an "audit of pre-colonial land ownership" had to be done.

"Once the audit is completed, one law should be written so that we can handle land restitution without compensation. The necessary constitutional changes will be made. The black parties should unite on this issue."

Minutes before Zuma addressed the traditional leaders, whom he referred to as "my leaders", in the Old Assembly Hall, Speaker Baleka Mbete spoke at an event where the Constitution was commemorated in the National Assembly.

She said amending the Constitution should be made difficult.

Will of the majority

After Tuesday's debate, the ANC issued a statement which stated that it did not agree that land should be expropriated without compensation.

"We believe that a fair and equitable compensation is the solution to solve the land issue in South Africa, as in other African countries such as Lesotho, Zambia, Malawi and Namibia. The land issue should be resolved in a way that unites South Africans, and it should not happen at random."

The ANC also said the EFF's motion went against section 25 of the Constitution, which the EFF wants to change.

Zuma pointed out in his speech that the process should take place within the laws of the country, but that it should also be subject to the will of the majority. 

"We must use the majority to fix what is wrong in our country, within the boundaries of legislation.

"Naturally, the government and ruling party ensures that it is an orderly process. We do not support chaos and illegal land occupation. Action must be supported by the Constitution and laws of the country."

He then spoke about his great-grandfathers, whose land had been confiscated.

Before Zuma began his address Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen was seated on the bench next to him. Behind Van Rooyen sat Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu. She took photos of Zuma with her cellphone as he spoke.

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