DA leader Mmusi Maimane took swipes at the ruling ANC while highlighting how his party has played an active role in achieving land reform.
Maimane, who was addressing farmworkers in Wellington in the Western Cape for International Workers’ Day, spoke about the farm equity share scheme – which the DA has supported in Parliament.
The equity share scheme is an initiative in which farmworkers are able to purchase a portion of the land on which they farm from farm owners, with government-funded grants, and in turn become co-owners.
“In 2008, 260 workers were each given over R100 000 worth of shares in this equity scheme. The very next year, they received their first dividends, and have been doing so every year since. Today, the business has grown to include 450 permanent workers,” Maimane said.
Maimane was referring to the Bosman Adama equity share scheme where the Bosman Family Vineyard has seen not only the workforce grow, but the workers now own a portion of the land which they then farm.
Maimane said the success of the landholdings that farmworkers have been a part of was “not some crony-benefitting racket, where friends and family members of those in power score themselves big land deals with no intention of ever farming land”.
On Sunday, Maimane wrote in City Press about land and the continual struggle that the marginalised community faces in South Africa.
Speaking about a recent trip to Gwatyu in the Eastern Cape, Maimane wrote about the 1 500 people who live in the farmstead, saying that the “88 farms that comprise the 42 000 hectares of Gwatyu have lain largely fallow for nearly half a century”.
“These plucky people have lived on this land and worked on it to eke out a living for decades, but have never had the help they expected from the post-democracy government to make it their own,” he said.
On Tuesday, Maimane once again echoed this sentiment, when he criticised the national government and its intention for “land reform programmes to tick boxes and make up numbers”, instead of looking towards viable long-term solutions towards land reform.
He called them “quick-fixes”.
This is not some quick-fix solution by national govt. where land beneficiaries are left on their own to sink or swim. And, believe me, most of them sink – the @MYANC land reform projects have a staggering 90% failure rate @MmusiMaimane #JusticeThroughLandOwnership #WorkersDay— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) May 1, 2018
Maimane also dismissed accusations that the party is against land reform, after the DA opposed the Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF)’s call for land expropriation without compensation.
“We voted against the EFF’s proposal because it will do nothing to empower poor black South Africans. In fact, it will only make them poorer,” he said.
Maimane said that the model proposed by the EFF will mean that individuals would not own anything.
“This is what they don’t mention in their slogans. But they intend to take away everyone’s property, whether you’re black or white, and make everyone permanent tenants of the state,” he said.
Maimane said that going along with the EFF’s model is a “terrible solution to poverty and exclusion”.
“Land reform should be about both justice and economic opportunity,” he said.
Maimane quoted an African proverb in relation to the value of teamwork and collaboration saying, “if you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.
“Because we believe we are stronger together. We believe in one united South Africa with one shared future.”