Land expropriation must be clarified

2018-05-10 06:00

The buzzword or term making the rounds is that of “land expropriation without compensation”.

The news is that the government has decided to embark on or embrace this long-standing cry from the previously landless masses.

The issue of land has been the cornerstone or key issue that the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) had put first as a demand (if my little knowledge of political history is anything to go by).

It is an issue that has been rekindled by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and now has buy-in from the ruling party.

This is all well and nice, but hear me out!

Like any law or change to the status quo in our democracy, there has to be certain steps that need to be taken or considered before any change could take place.

As we know, this is not a Banana Republic, and we are guided by a constitution, so this change will need to be governed by it.

It is not as easy as it is made out to be when people shout out. As we may have heard, there is a growing outcry already from certain sections of our population about how this will be played out. Our people have a different interpretation, as we already see.

Now unpacking this is difficult without it being explained to the masses what it entails exactly. Our country – or our – leaders have a tendency to debate such issues in Parliament and automatically assume that the people on the ground understand every little detail. As we all know, our people have been found wanting at the best of times, what with their diverse interpretations.

Consequently, these new developments have prompted an increase in land invasion. Does the change mean that? The more privileged of our country are crying foul, claiming there will be chaos if this is allowed. Will it be hostile to them, as they claim?

With the advent of our democracy so many things we thought would come with democratic change has not materialised, so one would think they would have learnt from that.

The leaders need to go out to the masses, as they do when seeking votes, and explain to them exactly what they need to expect.

The big question to be answered is, who stands to benefit from this land expropriation, as I believe not everyone will benefit.

Also, it must be implemented in a way that will not provoke a class action or have any other significant legal ramifications, especially from those it may directly affect.

In the end, it must benefit the rightful owners.

People are waiting for greater clarification on the issue, as it is not a simple matter, given the way our democracy is structured, aside from many other issues that affect the masses directly. I do wish that going forward this is done properly, through consultation, so the masses do benefit in the end.

Umhlaba!

. Please share your views about this column by emailing mzwanele.mkalipi@media24.com.

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