Mo­go­eng calls for cool heads to pre­vail on land is­sue

The Sunday Independent - - METRO - BARBARA COLE

PEACE­FUL ne­go­ti­a­tion was the only so­lu­tion to the coun­try’s con­tro­ver­sial land own­er­ship is­sue, Chief Jus­tice Mo­go­eng Mo­go­eng said in Dur­ban yes­ter­day.

“Let’s join hands and con­front this prob­lem and ne­go­ti­ate.

“The so­lu­tion is go­ing to be painful but it can be re­solved so that no one feels obliged to run out of the coun­try,” he said.

The Chief Jus­tice, who was de­liv­er­ing the an­nual Chief Al­bert Luthuli Me­mo­rial Lec­ture at the Univer­sity of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville cam­pus, pointed out that some white farm­ers owned vast tracts of land that they could sell back to the state at re­duced prices.

He re­minded the packed au­di­ence that black peo­ple had not had the ad­van­tage of eco­nomic ben­e­fits so could not af­ford to buy farms, and that once upon a time, they could not buy land even if they had money.

They could tell white landown­ers that they had ben­e­fited from an un­just sys­tem, but that now they could ne­go­ti­ate to find a mu­tu­ally sat­is­fac­tory so­lu­tion.

He warned against gen­er­al­is­ing about white peo­ple, say­ing there were many good white peo­ple in the coun­try who are pre­pared to work for the col­lec­tive good of South Africa.

While there were some peo­ple who trav­elled abroad to talk about the South African land is­sue, he won­dered what the land­less were do­ing.

“Where is their voice?” he asked to ap­plause.

Asked about the is­sue of land ex­pro­pri­a­tion with­out com­pen­sa­tion, he said “that will come to court”.

On the ques­tion of cor­rup­tion, he said he felt that po­ten­tial politi­cians should be “tested” at pub­lic fo­rums where they could be quizzed about their back­grounds and asked what they had achieved.

“That would help to re­duce cor­rupt el­e­ments,” he said.

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