ANC bows to tribal leaders
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