26 February 2014

South Africa: Land Reform in a Year of Election


Parliament passed the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill on Tuesday, opening restitution and redistribution claims again for another five years.

The Democratic Alliance had to face its race bogey, something the ANC can easily exploit on such an emotive issue and something the EFF has little trouble with.

"Land must be returned to blacks in South Africa no matter what the consequences are for the current owners and for political stability," agreed 68% of black respondents to a 2001 survey. Since then, urbanisation has continued and the land issue may have lost some of its allure.

But there is no doubt it remains an emotional issue for voters, one that's tied up in the politics of race, especially among black voters who are skeptical of the ANC's "good story" and disappointed with the rate of transformation.

During the Economic Freedom Fighters' manifesto launch on Saturday, Julius Malema's announcement that his government will become custodian of the land, and distribute it fairlym got enormous cheers from some 50,000 supporters in attendance.

The Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill was one of the ANC's priorities before the impending closure of Parliament and it was clear it would pass ...

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