Don't take the money, Zuma tells land claimants

President Jacob Zuma. (Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg)
President Jacob Zuma. (Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg)

Johannesburg - Successful land claimants should not settle for financial compensation, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.

"What is discouraging is that over 90% of claims are currently settled through financial compensation," he said at the opening of the Traditional Leaders' Indaba in Boksburg.

"This practice perpetuates the dispossession that we are trying to solve. We urge those who obtain land to utilise it and not resell it."

If it was up to him, he would prevent successful claimants from selling. Those who struggled financially once they had land returned to them would get government help, he said.

Government was against land grabs and any disputes over land had to be resolved within the ambit of the Constitution and the law. The African National Congress will discuss the matter at its policy conference in June.

"Our people must benefit from the minerals extracted from the belly of the earth in their country."


He asked traditional leaders to help bring the country together. Other countries which looked to South Africa's young democracy as an example were appalled by the "disrespect" displayed in Parliament, he said.

"Traditional leaders must help us in instilling unity, social cohesion and nation building. It is also important that we emphasise our value systems which are informed by our rich customs and traditions, such as ubuntu."

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen earlier told delegates that Zuma should be celebrated as a leader whose hallmark had been to struggle for the voiceless.

Zuma's sacrifices had guided him to ensure that service delivery improved for the poorest of the poor, he said.

His comments follow Zuma surviving another motion of no confidence tabled against him at a meeting of the ANC's national executive committee in Pretoria at the weekend.

Sunday newspapers reported that a trove of emails linked to the Guptas show how the family interfered in government affairs.

They allegedly picked up the tab for Van Rooyen's visit to Dubai in 2015. According to one letter, Zuma was seeking residency for his and his family in the United Arab Emirates.

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