ANC in KwaZulu-Natal kicks off provincial land summit

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has kicked off its provincial land summit to consolidate a position on how to go about expropriating privately owned land ahead of next week’s parliamentary hearings on land reform.

Provincial leaders have made it clear that the summit will deal with how to implement the governing party’s resolutions on expropriation of land without compensation and not with issues of land tenure and the future of land which falls under institutions like the Ingonyama Trust.

At the weekend, President Cyril Ramaphosa visited King Goodwill Zwelithini to assure him government does not intend on applying expropriation without compensation to the nearly three million hectares of land under the trust, of which the monarch is the sole trustee.

On Wednesday last week, Zwelithini called an imbizo to reject the recommendations by Parliament’s high level panel that the trust be dissolved and for land tenure rights to be given to residents on land falling under it. This led to threats by the Zulu king to break away from South Africa to form an independent Zulu state.

Addressing this morning’s meeting — attended by delegates from the ANC’s regions and leagues, farming organisations and non-governmental organisations — Mike Mabuyakhulu, convener of the provincial task team, said that discussions on how to provide security of tenure in rural areas would take place “down the line.”

The summit, he said, was about how to use expropriation without compensation as a means of securing land reform. The land under consideration, Mabuyakhulu said, was not state land under traditional administration but “privately owned land.”

“That is the land we are looking for,” Mabuyakhulu said.

Coordinator Sihle Zikalala said expropriation without compensation had been identified as being among the key mechanisms to achieve land reform. The discussions at the summit will focus not on land in the townships or rural areas, but rather how to approach “land that is used for commercial purposes.”

Zikalala said the high level panel had failed to consult the provincial government, the KwaZulu-Natal legislature and the provincial house of traditional leaders in its public engagement programme ahead of issuing its final report and recommendations.

The ANC in the province had not been consulted by the panel, headed by former president Kgalema Motlanthe, who had angered the king and traditional leaders with his references to “village despots.”

Ramaphosa has since apologised to the king for Motlanthe’s comments.

“We could have been on board,” Zikalala said.

Zikalala added that the recommendations of the panel were “their own view” and “not the view of the ANC.”

He said the summit would process the report of the ANC’s national land summit which has been called to look at implementing the resolutions of the party’s conference in December 2017. It would consolidate the province’s approach to the hearings — called by parliament’s constitutional review committee — which are sitting in KwaZulu-Natal next week.

The provincial leadership would attend all the hearings to ensure they put forward a position that there must be expropriation of land without compensation.

The closed session of the summit was addressed by ANC NEC member Edna Molewa, political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe and academic Mncedisi Maphalala of the JL Dube Institute.