Party against expropriation without compensation

AT a meeting last week where farmers were glaringly absent, the DA assured local supporters that the party was “vehemently opposed to the expropriation of land without compensation and tampering with the constitution”.

TAKING A STAND: The DA’s shadow minister of rural development and land reform, MP Thandeka Mbabama , addressed local supporters on the land issue last Wednesday evening Picture: JON HOUZET

The meeting at the Port Alfred Civic Centre drew a diverse crowd, with many supporters from Ndlambe townships singing and dancing in their enthusiasm for the party, and a score of Port Alfred residents and businesspeople with a stake in large property developments.

The meeting was addressed by DA’s shadow minister of rural development and land reform, MP Thandeka Mbabama, who was buoyed by the spirit of the gathering and said it looked like farmers had brought their wives with them. But TotT noted only one farmer in the audience.

Mbabama, whose expertise on the land issue comes from working for the Land Bank for 15 years, said everyone had to face up to the historical reality that black people, including coloureds and Indians, were dispossessed and denied ownership of land dating back to the Land Act of 1913.

“Blacks were limited to land reserves and later to the TBVC (Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei) states,” she said.

The Group Areas Act of 1950 further prevented white farmers from leasing land to black tenants and sharecroppers.

She said post-1994, the government’s land reform policy was either about land restitution, land redistribution or land tenure reform.

Land restitution was about giving people back land that was taken from them due to past racially motivated and discriminatory legislation, and had been “more or less the most successful, but it has been affected by corruption and people not being able to do their jobs”, Mbabama said.

See the full story in this week’s Talk of the Town.

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