Picture: Matthews Baloyi
The question of land justice has engulfed the nation, with many people speaking about the need to accelerate land restitution and reform in general. However, the ANC is making the rounds, blaming the constitution for all the ills of the land reform programme.

The truth is that expropriation without compensation will do nothing to solve the real issues in the programme. One key issue is that government has been reluctant to release land under its custodianship for land reform and restitution purposes.

In one case brought to the attention of the DA, the Adriaanse family in the Western Cape lodged a claim in 1998 for 96 hectares of land from which they were forcefully removed from by the apartheid government in 1969. In 2013 their claim was awarded. However, because the claim was in an area earmarked for the extension of Cape Town International Airport, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform recommended that the claimant be paid out to the value of the property or be awarded alternative state land. The claimants rejected an offer of R2.65million and instead opted for alternative state land. In 2016, 18 years after they lodged their claim, the Department of Public Works informed the beneficiaries that it lacked the resources to complete the transaction.

How is it possible that the department lacks resources in this regard, when in the Western Cape it owns 145000ha of unutilised land valued at R1.5billion?

Now, 20 years later, the Adriaanse family continues to wait while the ANC government orchestrates one of the biggest cover-ups in South Africa’s history, with promises of expropriation without compensation. The state’s reluctance to release state land indicates the ANC is nowhere near capable of handling something of such magnitude. Land justice will only occur if the ownership is given to land.

Until then, people will continue to wait.


*** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus