ANC bows to tribal lead­ers

Financial Mail - - FINANCIAL MAIL LETTERS - Trevor Bis­seker, Klein­mond

I was struck by Sikonathi Mantshantsha’s ar­ti­cle, “Hope in the hills” ( Be­tween the Chains, Au­gust 4-10).

I grew up in Port St Johns and later Kok­stad, and have won­der­ful mem­o­ries of the rolling hills of Pon­doland and child­hood hol­i­days on the Wild Coast.

The ar­ti­cle is cor­rect, of course, in point­ing out the al­most lim­it­less po­ten­tial of agri­cul­ture in this vast area. But surely the in­ac­tiv­ity, and reliance of the pop­u­la­tion on piti­ful and un­sus­tain­able gov­ern­ment hand­outs, can­not be blamed en­tirely on years of ex­ploita­tion by the min­ing in­dus­try in re­cruit­ing cheap labour?

Money from the min­ers at least fi­nanced some farm­ing for rel­a­tives at home. Why have things not changed for the bet­ter in demo­cratic SA?

The an­swer, surely, lies with the own­er­ship of the land. Transkei and other for­mer “na­tive re­serves” ap­pear to be un­der the con­trol of tribal kings, chiefs and head­men. Far from em­bark­ing on de­vel­op­ment projects to pro­vide jobs and even pros­per­ity for the many thou­sands of res­i­dents, the ANC gov­ern­ment bows to these tra­di­tional lead­ers. In­deed, it ap­pears bent on strength­en­ing their pow­ers through leg­is­la­tion.

Land resti­tu­tion is all very well where there are grounds for re­dress but, as Mantshantsha says, there is scope for a whole new econ­omy in the fer­tile, un­used lands of the im­pov­er­ished ru­ral for­mer home­lands.

Grow­ing po­ten­tial Scope for a new econ­omy

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.