ANC veteran Andrew Mlangeni has warned that if government is not careful in how it resolves the land redistribution issue, things can get out of hand.
“It’s a difficult question, but we must be very, very careful in how we solve this problem, because if government is not careful in resolving it more or less peacefully, farmers, especially the Afrikaners are not going to give up this land issue very easily,” he warned.
He was speaking at the launch of the Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation’s inclusive growth forum at the Champagne Sports Resort, in the Drakensberg, yesterday.
The ANC has been grappling with how to implement a resolution taken at its national elective conference in December last year – to expropriate land without compensation.
Mlangeni said he agreed with the sentiments of former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa that the party needed to release a land audit first, to enable them to determine what they had and could distribute before seeking to amend the Constitution.
At the event, one of the architects of the Constitution, Roelf Meyer supported calls for the Constitution’s property clause not to be amended.
Speaking to City Press on the sidelines of the forum, Meyer said the current government had dropped the ball on land reform.
“I don’t think it needs to be changed, but I am not a lawyer or a member of the Bench. But as a South African and somebody who was part of the process of drafting the Constitution, I don’t think that is the solution.
“What we said in the Constitution is that there shall be land reform and it is up to the new government to implement that and make the necessary law to make sure that happens.
“That is the failure that we are now talking about.”
Meyer said the state is the biggest farm owner in the country, with around 4 000 properties. These had been claimed but not handed over to their rightful owners, which proved that government had a problem with implementation.
Meyer said three issues relating to land reform were fundamental to the entire population: identity, inequality and food security.
Identity was about people feeling they had to get recognition for their origin, history and where they came from.
He said land was one way of closing the inequality gap.
“There are millions of South Africans who go to bed hungry and we have to make a plan to ensure domestic food security. That is not a side issue it’s a real issue. The factor of domestic food security has to be on all our minds.”
He said he did not think one of these three factors was more important than the others.
Meyer was attending the event’s land working group. Others who took part in talks included Mlangeni, Phosa, Deputy Finance Minister Mondli Gungubele, former president Thabo Mbeki’s legal adviser advocate Mojanku Gumbi, MP Vincent Smith and ANC national executive committee member Ronald Lamola.