Numsa General Secretary Irvin Jim. File photo: Steve Lawrence

Johannesburg - Numsa and Fawu will start a campaign in support of speeding up South Africa's land reform programme, the two trade unions said on Thursday.

 Their campaign would start on June 19, the 100-year anniversary of the Native Land Act which limited black land ownership to seven percent of the land, and led to forced removals.

"It is on the day of enactment of the 1913 Native Land Act that Numsa (National Union of Metalworkers) and Fawu (Food and Allied Workers' Union) have decided to launch their 'Campaign for Agrarian Transformation and Land Distribution in South Africa'," Numsa president Cedric Sabelo Gina said.

The aim of the campaign is to put pressure on the state so it can fast-track agrarian transformation and land redistribution in South Africa.

The unions said from next Wednesday members would go to work wearing headbands with the slogans: "Lefatse" ('Land', in seSotho), "Ons Soek Dit" ('We want it' in Afrikaans) and "Mawubuye" ('Let it return' in Nguni languages).

Lunchtime pickets and meetings would be held in factories. There would be rallies in Thokoza in Ekurhuleni, New Brighton in Port Elizabeth and in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. A picket for food security would be held in front of Bloemfontein's Pick 'n Pay supermarket in Benade Drive.

Numsa and Fawu office bearers would address these gatherings.

The two wanted section 25(2)(b) of the Constitution changed so courts were no longer the final arbiter on compensation for land. They believed the courts were not transformed enough to understand what "just and equitable" compensation was.

"Because the kind of judges that we have in our country are not progressive enough as far as we are concerned," Gina said.

He said it was Numsa's position that land be expropriated without compensation.

The two unions also wanted:
* the land register to be finalised and completed;

* the Competition Commission to complete its investigation into the alleged abuse of dominance and anti-competitive conduct in the food and agri-processing sectors;

* the 2011 green paper on land reform to be turned into a bill, as it "seems to be stuck in ever-expanding advisory teams";

* a clear strategy on tenure in communal areas after the Constitutional Court ruled in 2010 that the Communal Land Rights Act was unconstitutional; and

* evictions of farmworkers and labour tenants to stop, after 930 000 were evicted between 1995 and 2004 due to job losses on farms.

Gina said most of the land redistributed so far was not being used productively. He complained that some farms were being used as holiday places.

The campaign would include a mock referendum in September on the proposed change to the Constitution. The two unions were working together because Fawu represented workers in the agricultural sector and Numsa represented workers in industries manufacturing agricultural equipment. - Sapa