Derek Hanekom: “Call it what you want, but the land was originally stolen and deserves to be expropriated without compensation”

The South African minister of tourism, and African National Congress (ANC) executive, Derek Hanekom has waded into the land debate.

Speaking to the media at a tourism event in Tsitsikamma‚ near Port Elizabeth‚ on Thursday, Hanekom stood by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s controversial land expropriation announcement.

As reported by Times Live, Hanekom told journalists attending the event that land in South Africa was originally stolen and that it should be returned to its rightful owners.

The remarks stem from a question posed to Hanekom in the effects of land expropriation and the South African tourism industry. More specifically – will land currently used for tourist activities be threatened by national reform?

Hanekom was mild in his response, adding that only ‘justified’ land expropriation will take place, and arguing that not all land in South Africa will be affected by the proposed Constitutional amendment.

While Hanekom initiated his land reform tirade on the basis of stolen land and disparities created by colonialism, his vehemence settled as he began to downplay the possible negative effects of expropriation without compensation.

‘No land-grabbing’ – Hanekom
In fact, Hanekom went on to argue that president Ramaphosa was misunderstood and that the ANC isn’t supportive of blanket land nationalisation, saying:

“There are instances where the case of expropriation without compensation might be justified and the constitution must allow that to happen. That is what the president (Cyril Ramaphosa) said may be misunderstood.”

Strangely enough, Hanekom’s rhetoric is contradictory to that of fellow ANC executive, and chairperson, Gwede Mantashe. The discrepancy in policy adds to the confusion regarding the practical mechanism of South African land reform.

One thing the top brass of the ANC all agrees on is the issue of legal process. Hanekom maintained that the process of land reform will be done in a free, fair and nonviolent manner.