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Fri Jan 30 08:25:04 SAST 2015

Without land, a citizen will not feel part of this country

Editorial | 10 December, 2012 00:01

THE Natives Land Act of 1913 is the most dehumanising policy ever implemented against blacks in South Africa. It continues to have a devastating impact to this day.

A government that ignores the people's need for a space where they can build a life for themselves and their children runs the risk of fomenting a land-grab revolution.

The situation in Zimbabwe, where land was violently seized from white farmers, came as a result of a government being too slow to respond to colonial-era land expropriations.

In South Africa, the issue of land remains contentious and emotional.

The unfortunate situation of Lenasia - where the government bulldozed houses illegally built on its land - is a sign of things to come if a lasting solution to the need for land is not found.

It is, however, encouraging to hear Rural Development Minister Gugile Nkwinti state that proposals for the redistribution of land in the government's land reform green paper would come into effect as early as March.

Nkwinti said the new policies included a four-tier land-tenure system, which accounted for land leased to farmers, land redistribution, foreign ownership of land and the implementation of a democratic communal land system.

A land rights management board along with its district committees would be set up next year to protect farmworkers against unfair evictions.

The land management commission would be responsible for the registration of all private and public land.

The willing-buyer-willing seller policy which the ANC-led government initially followed did not aid the slow pace of land restitution.

In just a few weeks from now it will be 100 years since black people were forcibly removed from their land.

Let us act now and avoid the possibility of land grabs.

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