by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has urged beneficiaries of South Africa’s land reforms to ensure productivity in order to shatter the stereotypes that only white farmers could be successful.
He made the sentiments on Monday in his weekly letter.
“They (beneficiaries) must heal the deep divisions of our past,” Ramaphosa stated.
“They must dispel the stereotype that only white farmers are commercially successful in South Africa, and that black farmers are perpetually ‘emerging.’”
The president said in working this land and turning it to productive use, the new beneficiaries would enhance unity.
“They will indeed turn swords into ploughshares. They will become the faces of national reconciliation.”
Land is a divisive issue in South Africa, from the time of colonialism to post-independence. Reforms have moved at snail’s pace.
Ramaphosa said transforming patterns of agricultural land ownership was vital not just to address the historical injustices of the past, but to safeguard South Africa’s food security.
He said the continued monopolisation of a key means of production like land was not only an obstacle to advancing a more egalitarian society.
“It is also a recipe for social unrest,” the president warned.
The skewed ownership of land has its roots in the 1913 Natives Land Act.
“By depriving our people of their right to own and work the land on which they depended for sustenance and livelihood, this great injustice effectively engineered the poverty of black South Africans,” Ramaphosa said.
Between 1994 and March 2018 the state has delivered 8,4 million hectares of land to previously disadvantaged individuals under the land reform programme.
This progress amounts to less than 10 percent of all commercial farmland.
– CAJ News