Land grab ‘will lead to crisis’

BY ZINE GEORGE AND ZINGISA MVUMVU
Secretary General of the ANC Gwede Mantashe briefs the media after delivering his diagnostic organisational report in plenary at the ANC Policy Conference held at Nasrec.
Secretary General of the ANC Gwede Mantashe briefs the media after delivering his diagnostic organisational report in plenary at the ANC Policy Conference held at Nasrec.  Image: Masi Losi/Sunday Times
The push for the expropriation of land without compensation is such a radical policy shift that it is likely to plunge the country into “deeper crisis”.

This is according to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who raised his concerns on the sidelines of the party’s national policy conference at Nasrec, southern Johannesburg.

President Jacob Zuma’s supporters in the economic transformation commissions convened for the conference were pushing hard to have land expropriation without compensation adopted as ANC policy.

Zuma yesterday authorised the Special Investigating Unit to investigate allegations of corruption and misappropriation of funds related to land redistribution in the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

The commission charged with debating land reform resolved to “propose the amendment of section 25 of the constitution to make provision for the expropriation of land without compensation”, said a confidential source.

Mantashe said such drastic policy shifts were prompted by panic in the ANC because “you want to get instant solutions now and win back the support you are losing and win popularity instantly. And you do things that are extreme.

Mantashe said such drastic policy shifts were prompted by panic in the ANC because “you want to get instant solutions now and win back the support you are losing and win popularity instantly. And you do things that are extreme.

“In our experience, every time you do that you deal with issues haphazardly and dig deeper into crisis.

“When there is factionalism and populism people tend to go to extremes. We all agree here we need to accelerate land redistribution. But when you say you must expropriate without compensation, what do you mean, in essence?

“Do you want land distribution to be as if you are offering umwangalala [freebies].

“Once you do that you are going to handle this issue haphazardly. It is likely to take you into a deeper crisis. You are not going to be systematic about the revolution. That is the point I am making,” he said.

Mantashe said the ANC’s veterans had “missed out” on an important opportunity to “self-reflect” by boycotting the national policy conference.

The conference, attended by more than 3700 delegates, began on Friday and ends today.

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