Tack­ling the land de­bate

Vuk'uzenzele - - From The Union Buildings -

“South Africa be­longs to all who live in it.” with­out this dec­la­ra­tion our Con­sti­tu­tion would be a hol­low state­ment if the ma­jor­ity of South Africans did not have ac­cess to the land of which we were robbed and from which we were alien­ated dur­ing cen­turies of colo­nial­ism and decades of apartheid.

There is cur­rently a lot of dis­cus­sion and de­bate

– but also dis­in­for­ma­tion and fear mon­ger­ing around

South Africa’s land re­form and redistribution process.

It is there­fore nec­es­sary to re­it­er­ate that the aim of land re­form and redistribution is to make our na­tion more co­he­sive, more equal, more se­cure and more de­vel­oped and it is an es­sen­tial part of our vi­sion of in­clu­sive growth.

The process we have em­barked on to en­sure that all South Africans have ac­cess to land for a wide range of pur­poses – from sub­sis­tence farm­ing to ur­ban de­vel­op­ment and in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion – is trans­par­ent, rules-based, con­sti­tu­tional and con­sul­ta­tive.

Hear­ings have been held through­out the coun­try and the cur­rent par­lia­men­tary process is a fur­ther op­por­tu­nity for South Africans from all back­grounds and of all per­sua­sions to jointly chart a way for­ward.

We are con­fi­dent that through di­a­logue, dis­cus­sion and en­gage­ment we will ar­rive at so­lu­tions that will not only take our coun­try for­ward but also trans­form it to truly re­flect that our na­tion be­longs to all who live in it. Con­trary to what some are claim­ing, the Con­sti­tu­tion has not been amended and cur­rent laws ap­ply. Gov­ern­ment re­spects the rule of law and will act in ac­cor­dance with the Con­sti­tu­tion at all times.

As part of main­tain­ing the rule of law, our law-en­force­ment agen­cies will there­fore act against in­di­vid­u­als or groups who il­le­gally claim or oc­cupy land for what­ever rea­son. We can­not al­low law­less­ness to take hold while we are talk­ing and work­ing to­gether as South Africans to en­sure that we place land at the dis­posal of all South Africans in a fair and le­gal man­ner.

The on­go­ing par­lia­men­tary process will al­low us to to­gether de­ter­mine a land re­form model that works for ev­ery­one. The de­bate around land re­form is an im­por­tant one and it can en­sure that we strengthen our na­tion and so­cial co­he­sion by work­ing to­gether.

Gov­ern­ment is lead­ing the na­tional ef­fort for land resti­tu­tion and redistribution that will undo the Orig­i­nal Sin of land dis­pos­ses­sion and en­able ac­cess to land in a way that grows the econ­omy, en­sures food se­cu­rity and in­creases agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion.

I en­cour­age all South Africans to make their voice heard to Par­lia­ment as the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion process pro­ceeds.

Cit­i­zens, the busi­ness com­mu­nity and the in­ter­na­tional in­vestor com­mu­nity are among the many stake­hold­ers who are watch­ing our process very closely – and with good rea­son, be­cause South Africa of­fers unique op­por­tu­ni­ties and ben­e­fits to all th­ese in­ter­est groups.

While we are in this process, South Africa re­mains open for busi­ness, and in­vest­ments in agri­cul­ture and farm­ing are wel­comed and re­main safe. It is in South Africa's in­ter­ests to have com­mer­cial farm­ers, and this process can en­sure that we have even greater num­bers of suc­cess­ful com­mer­cial farm­ers.

In­vestors in our coun­try are re­as­sured by our strong fis­cal and eco­nomic frame­work that has been laid since the start of our democ­racy and which demon­strates our con­sis­tent pru­dent man­age­ment of the econ­omy.

Our work is af­firmed by the World Bank’s Ease of Do­ing Busi­ness In­dex which ranks South Africa 22nd in the world for in­vestor pro­tec­tion while the Ernst and Young’s (EY) At­trac­tive­ness Re­port on Africa 2017 high­lights that South Africa re­mains the con­ti­nent’s lead­ing for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tion.

More­over, the coun­try’s sound fi­nan­cial sys­tem, highly reg­u­lated bank­ing sec­tor and world class in­fra­struc­ture sup­ports in­vest­ment. We re­main com­mit­ted as a coun­try to the con­tin­u­a­tion of sound eco­nomic poli­cies that vig­or­ously pur­sue eco­nomic growth that in­cludes and is en­joyed by all South Africans.

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