The South African land restoration question is the most explosive and pivotal of all issues facing the country. The dispossession of natives from their homeland/motherland is at the center of the newly intensified struggle for Economic freedoms. While we all agree that there can be no social, commercial or spiritual cohesion unless the victims of Land dispossession are adequately compensated and restored to the soil that makes them whole, the How is the crucial and complicated part. The current government and other agents are apparently working at it, but seemingly not sufficiently.
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform’s Green Paper on Land Reform of 2011, in what was clearly an acknowledgement of policy failure since 1994, captures the urgency of resolving the land issue:and
“Forcible land removals are not a product of just any political choice and decision, or any administrative practice, process, procedure or institution. If there could be anything positive which came from apartheid, it is (a) the political courage and will to make hard choices and decisions; and (b) the bureaucratic commitment, passion and aggression in pursuit of those political choices and decisions. WE are in the mess we are in today because of these two sets of qualities – political courage and will to make hard choices and decisions, and bureaucratic commitment, passion and aggression in pursuit of those political choices and decisions. We need them now to pull the country out of the mess.”
In this debate hosted by the Institute of Afrikology with the Afrikology Student Society, we shall attempt to hear and learn from the Youth and Students of Kwa-Zulu Natal, exactly what is to be done, in their own words.
South Afrika’sland reform programme has three components: land restitution to those dispossessed since 1913; redistribution of land to address highly skewed ownership patterns resulting from the Land Acts and also to encourage inclusive participation in the economy in general, and in agriculture in particular; and tenure reform to provide security of tenure to those disadvantaged in the past by discriminatory laws and practices. As already mentioned it is a complex matter and requires all our faculties, including the emotional intelligence to make hard decisions.
Essentially we want to know exactly how Landlessness affects the Youth who live in the shacks, ghettoes and urban sprawls that define South Afrika as one of the most unequal societies in the modern age.