Solving the land question important but not an election issue, says ANC

The issue of land was a national imperative that needed to be addressed, the ANC said during a briefing on the party's election manifesto on Sunday, February 24 2019.
The issue of land was a national imperative that needed to be addressed, the ANC said during a briefing on the party's election manifesto on Sunday, February 24 2019.
Image: 123rf.com/Cristi Kerekes

The question of land expropriation is not an election issue, otherwise the PAC would have been in government in 1994 and not the ANC.

This was said by ANC national executive committee and economic transformation committee member Ronald Lamola during a media briefing on the party's election manifesto at Luthuli House in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Lamola said the ANC was not electioneering by advancing land expropriation without compensation now.

"I always say if this land question was indeed an electioneering issue, not an important national imperative, the PAC would have been in government since 1994," said Lamola

"People forget that in 1994 when the ANC came into power, the PAC was the one talking about land every day but despite that, the PAC never became the government of the day.

"So it is not true that the ANC is handling the land issue because there is pressure, but the ANC is dealing with the land issue because it is a national imperative for social and economic purposes that needs to be addressed," he said.

Lamola also made a veiled attack on the EFF's stance on the matter - a call for the nationalisation of all land.

In the ANC's view, he said, there was no single way to tackle land reform and he described as fake news suggestions that in other countries the state owned all the land.

He said this was not even the case in China.

"There is no country in the world which has got one single-land ownership system which is enabling economic participation and is resolving some of the social challenges which we are told we must do in this country, like nationalisation of all land as a silver bullet," said Lamola.

"It is being purported that if we just wake up and nationalise land, all black South Africans will have access to land. It is a misnomer and it is not going to happen so we need a solution that will enable equitable access to the land."

The ANC economic transformation committee, chaired by Enoch Godongwana, also noted problems at Eskom and emphasised the need for the unbundling of the power utility.

Godongwana said the breaking up of Eskom into three was a long-standing issue that started in 1998.

Moreover, he emphasised the need for the involvement of the private sector in the power generation space, adding that this too was not new.

"The white paper in 1998 said electricity generation in South Africa should be 70% Eskom and 30% private entities. In between, no regulatory framework was created for private industry to participate, hence no investment came through. Therefore that forced Eskom to start a new build in 2004 and as a result we had the outages in 2008," said Godongwana.

Another committee member, Nkenke Kekana, highlighted the need for an energy mix, saying that hostility against independent power producers (IPPs) was misguided.

"IPPs are not going to kill Eskom. There should be competition on generation and competition is healthy when it is well regulated. Eskom will continue to exist because it is a strong player in the energy generation space," said Kekana.

Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) also came under the spotlight, with trade and industry minister Rob Davies expressing concern over fronting that had compromised the policy aimed at leveling the playing field.

"There is a significant amount of BEE fronting in South Africa which has become much more sophisticated than it used to be and this deprives black people of the benefits and creates space for rent-seeking, abuse and seeking tender opportunities, but the BEE commissioner is acting now and has a mandate to act," said Davies.


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