Mogoeng calls for cool heads to prevail on land issue
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.