JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s land reforms will include issuing title deeds to small-scale farmers living on tribal lands, a senior ruling party official said on Friday, in comments likely to rile powerful traditional chiefs.
The remarks by Ronald Lamola, a member of the ANC top governing body and one of the party’s land reform representatives, contrast with previous statements by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa assured the Zulu King Zwelithini in July that the vast territory that he controlled through a trust was off the land reform table.
“When we give the security of tenure, we need to do it in the whole country,” Lamola said in response to questions during a panel discussion on land policy, adding that that would aim to solve the problem that people who live on tribal lands “can be evicted at any time by a chief”.
Asked if he meant the possibility of title deeds being granted to the mostly subsistence farmers who reside in these impoverished rural enclaves, he said: “Yes. Security of tenure includes leases, it includes title deeds.”
The Institute of Race Relations said earlier this month that the government’s push for expropriation without compensation was making South Africans poorer.
The country's economy contracted by 0.7 percent in the second quarter of the year after contracting by 2.6 percent in the first quarter.
The sector which saw the biggest decline was agriculture, forestry, and fishing, which declined by nearly 30 percent in the second quarter.
Lamola said another reform possibility was to formalise an arrangement known as permission to occupy (PTO) which usually involves a tribal authority assenting to a family or individual to farm or settle on a piece of land.
Pointedly, Lamola said the ANC was going to target the Ingonyama Trust, the vast territory controlled by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini.