24 July 2014

South Africa: Land, Firebrands and Grandstands - Just Another Day in Parliament


Is there any political issue thornier in South Africa than "the Land Question"? On Wednesday the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform tabled its budget in Parliament, and in the subsequent debate predictably fiery scenes ensued. But they didn't die down in the afternoon, when it was the Presidency's turn in the hotseat - though Israel/Palestine hogged some of the spotlight, and the EFF took most of the rest.

Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Gugile Nkwinti's budget vote speech was titled "A Radical Departure from Colonial and Apartheid Socio-Economic Legacies". Whether its contents are indeed "a radical departure" depends on who you speak to: the Freedom Front Plus might well agree, while the EFF will likely laugh uproariously in your face. And in seeming contradiction to radicalism, Nkwinti went on to tell journalists that it would be fair to say that the major concern underlying the ANC's proposals was "stability".

"Expropriation without compensation", that phrase so beloved of the EFF, does feature as ANC policy now. But, and it's a substantial but, it applies only to "land acquired through unlawful means or used for illegal purposes".

Nkwinti also wants to see "no ownership of...

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