Just pause a bit on land grabs, says Buthelezi

2017-03-30 15:50
Mangosuthu Buthelezi. (File, Netwerk24)

Mangosuthu Buthelezi. (File, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - Now is not the time to deviate from the Constitution on the land issue, Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi told the National House of Traditional Leaders on Thursday.

"These issues cannot be satisfied by throwing caution to the wind. We have been careful not to light the spark that could see South Africa go up in flames," the veteran politician said.

He tried to persuade traditional leaders that the country risked its peace, reconciliation and even investment if it treated land redistribution too hastily.

Buthelezi was speaking at a debate about President Jacob Zuma's speech to the House during its 2017 opening on March 3. He was allowed to speak early as he had to leave for a prior engagement.

"I worry about the future of our country, when the people are hungry, and land is a burning issue," he said.

"Now is not the time to deviate from the Constitution, as there is too much at stake."

'Basket case' Zimbabwe

He feared the country could go down the same path as "basket case" Zimbabwe if it approved expropriation without compensation.

He said he had voted with the African National Congress to reject the Economic Freedom Fighters' call to amend the Constitution, and said the country must foster peace and reconciliation.

Buthelezi said there were areas of the Constitution that needed to be amended, such as the role of traditional leaders in state affairs and the rights to land tenure.

Parties should find each other on the issue, and work better given the current provisions in law.

- Read more: Traditional leader asks Zuma for referendum on land expropriation

Zuma was due to address the house later on Thursday, after 14 traditional leaders had responded to his March 3 speech.

During that speech, Zuma had said: "The black parties should unite on this issue [land]. We cannot fight about nothing," Netwerk24 reported.

The "majority of black Africans, in particular" should not differ in this regard, he said, contradicting the ANC caucus's vote during the EFF motion earlier that week.

Zuma called for a pre-colonial land audit, and said the principle of willing seller, willing buyer was not effective.

Read more on:    anc  |  ifp  |  mangosuthu buthelezi  |  jacob zuma  |  land

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