Cash instead of land makes mockery
SOME time ago President Jacob Zuma pleaded with land claimants to take land and not the money. This plea puts paid to the fallacy that most blacks want “their land” (sic) back.
The reasons for taking financial compensation are: Moving from one location to another is disruptive, so they take the money for their children’s education or for extending their homes.
Not every black person wants to be a farmer.
The difficult legislative restitution process, limited settlement grants, and the lack of post-settlement support and commitment by the government make farming daunting.
It’s a complicated business, whereas cash compensation is guaranteed, quick and less complicated.
Most claimants are poor, so money is appealing and farming is hard work.
Older claimants feel they are too old to go back and make meaningful use of the land. Commission officials also coerce them to choose financial compensation.
Many claimants have become urbanised, families have grown, so returning to undeveloped land, barely known to them, is also not always appealing.
Taking financial compensation makes a mockery of the idea that land restores dignity to those who were dispossessed. The land policy needs to be revamped as millions of rand are being wasted on failed projects, productive farms are becoming wastelands and food production is suffering.
Using the race card is not the answer, nor is a referendum. Cool heads, intelligent ideas and constructive debate will pave the way forward. Germiston