Ramaphosa: Returning the land will ‘restore the dignity of our people’

Cyril Ramaphosa
Cyril Ramaphosa
Image: FILE

President Cyril Ramaphosa tackled the land question and vowed that government will implement land reform to address the apartheid injustice of land dispossession.

Delivering the 8th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture in Cape Town on Monday‚ Ramaphosa said the dispossession of black people of their land manifested itself in a violent manner bereft of any notions of peace.

“Apartheid stripped black people – Africans‚ coloureds and Indians – of their land and their assets‚ impoverishing families for generations and robbing them of their dignity.

“The evictions of farm workers‚ especially here in the Western Cape‚ continues unabated‚” he said to applause from the largely white crowd that filled the Artscape auditorium.

“It is‚ therefore‚ vital‚ if we are to restore the dignity of our people and break the cycle of poverty‚ that we address the land question so that there can be peace and prosperity amongst our people. This will also give us the chance to heal the wounds of the past‚” he said.

“It is‚ therefore‚ vital‚ if we are to restore the dignity of our people and break the cycle of poverty‚ that we address the land question so that there can be peace and prosperity amongst our people. This will also give us the chance to heal the wounds of the past‚” he said.

Ramaphosa explained that it was in this context that South Africans must understand the drive to accelerate land reform through redistribution‚ restitution and tenure security.

“It is in the interests of both social justice and economic development that we ensure that the land is shared among all those who work it and all those who need it.”

Effective land reform‚ where emerging farmers are provided with adequate support and poor households receive well-located land for housing in urban centres‚ is both a moral and economic imperative‚ said the president.

“It unleashes great economic potential‚ not only of the land‚ but also of the people who work on it and live on it‚” he added.

Ramaphosa received a standing ovation when he arrived at the venue and another when he was about to begin his address. Cape Town audiences have previously been cold towards ANC leaders‚ especially towards former president Jacob Zuma.

Ramaphosa also addressed rampant abuse against women in South African society‚ saying that in searching for a just and equal society‚ gender relations needed to be fundamentally transformed.

“We cannot have a free society‚ we cannot have a peaceful world‚ for as long as women are discriminated against‚ exploited‚ neglected and abused. We cannot tolerate the social norms and cultural practices that diminish‚ in any way‚ the equal rights and equal worth of women‚” he said.

Ramaphosa added that this required a change in attitude and consciousness‚ a social movement that reached into every home‚ classroom‚ workplace and relationship.

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