Readers’ Forum: Land is country’s national asset, to stay in SA hands

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’THE NATIONAL Development Plan (NDP) is a plan for the country to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030 through uniting South Africans, unleashing the energies of its citizens, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capability of the state and leaders working together to solve complex problems.” (As it appears on the government website).

One of the milestones outlined by the NDP is to broaden ownership of assets to historically disadvantaged groups. Most of the historically disadvantaged groups in our country happen to be black people, previously dispossessed of their essential asset – land. The dispossession of land brought about inequalities in a number of areas, including the right to ownership of land.

With the newly introduced bills such as the Land Tenure Security Bill and legislatures like the Land Holdings Bill from Minister Gugile Nkwinti’s Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, land ownership has become a dominant topic in the media.

We saw recent results by chief land surveyor-general Mmuso Riba in the Audit of Registered State Land and a desktop analysis of the Private Land Ownership report, stating that 79 percent of land in South Africa is owned by private individuals, including foreigners, with the government owning 14 percent, while 7 percent could not be verified.

South Africans will agree that land is a national asset that must be distributed among its citizens. The Land Holdings Bill will therefore play a significant role in ensuring that our national asset remains in our hands, as it will assist in investigating the patterns of land ownership in the country.

The Land Holdings Bill can also help determine infallible figures regarding land ownership as it will limit or prevent foreigners from owning land in South Africa. Foreigners will, however, be allowed to lease land and venture into food produce business partnerships with South Africans, allowing for investments.

A lot is yet to be said about land, as it remains an emotive issue to most people residing in this country. Hopefully, the Rural Development and Land Reform’s 2014 Land Tenure Summit scheduled to take place from September 4-6 will address most of the challenges facing land ownership and land reform as a whole.

The green paper sought to reconfigure land ownership so that all South Africans, black people in particular, have reasonable access to land, with secure rights, to meet their basic needs for housing and a productive livelihood, said the departments’s spokesman Eddie Mohoebi. The state has a responsibility to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights of its people.

Nthabiseng Matabane

Pretoria

BDS movement must focus on China

I refer to the article (“Boycott of Israeli goods cannot be forced on all”, Business Report, August 21). Pierre Heistein is correct in what he says. However, those who claim to be pro-Gaza and those who lead the boycott, disinvestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, if they are objectively and genuinely concerned about the abuse of human rights, as they claim, they could do no better than turn their wrath and boycotts etc against China.

The Chinese authorities do their best to suppress news of such abuse, both in China and Tibet, which is under Chinese domination. However, if such people took the trouble to read the reports of, for example, Amnesty International, they would learn of horrific human rights abuse in those countries.

I look forward to reading as to how these various groups are to conduct their campaign of boycott, disinvestment and sanctions against China as a protest against such continuous and harsh abuse of human rights.

I wonder how many supporters they would have?

Kevin Meineke

HOUT BAY


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