David Mabuza. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko
David Mabuza. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

’We wont allow land grabs’ says Mabuza as he fast-tracks land reform

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Nov 7, 2020

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Cape Town - Deputy President David Mabuza has insisted that the country will not allow land grabs in the land reform programme.

This comes after he spoke out against the violence that broke out in Senekel and called for the fast-tracking of the land reform programme.

Mabuza also came out in defence of the National Health Insurance saying it would lead to access to healthcare by millions of poor people who have no medical cover.

But the events in Senekal a few weeks ago drew the attention of the nation with calls for the easing of tensions between all sides.

Mabuza has, however, urged that the country needs to speed up land reform that includes redistribution, restitution and land tenure.

In a bid to ramp up land reform Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza announced a few weeks ago that government will release 700 000 hectares of state land to emerging farmers.

Mabuza told MPs this week, in a question and answer session, that a team has been appointed to visit several farms to deal with the land question and will meet farmers and farmworkers.

"As long as there is poverty, unemployment, inequalities you must expect some resistance in society. In our case we have a legacy we are trying to deal with. The legacy is land dispossession we are correcting through land reform. As long as there as there are those people who feel that land has not been restored to them there will not be peace and harmony. We will deal with this problem through the Constitution. We are not going to allow any land grabs, any violation of human rights," said Mabuza.

Parliament has been conducting public hearings on amendments to Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

The government wants to fast-track land reform with Mabuza saying many people wanted access to land.

In the past few years the government has been concerned about a number of people who take money instead of returning to their land in the restitution programme.

Mabuza also told MPs that they were clamping down on corruption in municipalities.

A number of municipalities were put under section 139, which allowed provincial governments to take them over because they have collapsed.

The Auditor-General, Kimi Makwetu, in his report a few months ago found that irregular expenditure had increased to R32 billion in municipalities.

Mabuza said they need to get to the bottom of corruption and fix those municipalities that were in trouble.

Several municipalities also owe Eskom billions of rands.

On the other hand municipalities are owed more than R100 billion by households, businesses and departments.

The National Treasury has said in the past most of the debt was not recoverable.

But Mabuza said they need to fight corruption in municipalities and rope in law enforcement agencies.

He said the government must not lose the momentum to fight corruption across the state with a multi-team of law enforcement agencies is probing millions of rands in Covid-19 corruption.

He said law enforcement agencies had built a solid foundation with Covid-19 corruption to crack some of the cases.

The Hawks, The Special Investigating Unit and the National Prosecuting Authority are probing multiple PPE tenders across the state.

"All law enforcement agencies must be supported, given the right amount of money, personnel and equipment to fight corruption. These institutions must stand the test of time," said Mabuza.

Political Bureau

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