The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal believes that the Ingonyama Trust Act should not be repealed but amended so that people living in communal land can have security of tenure.
DA KZN leader Zwakele Mncwango told journalists at a press briefing in Durban on Thursday that people living in communal land wanted to own land.
He said, while they believed that traditional leaders had an important role to play in communal land, "the residents should be protected by being given title deeds to the land they lived on".
"We don't support the removal of the Ingonyama Trust Act. There should be some amendments in parts of the act. We believe in security of tenure. We want the people who live on communal land to have individual ownership of their land through individual title deeds," he said.
'He became a chameleon'
Mncwango said the DA didn't share the views of the ANC and EFF that the government should be the sole owner of the land.
"People fought for this land and we believe they will have dignity once they own the land," he said.
He said they "strongly believed" King Goodwill Zwelithini was on the "right track" when he called an imbizo on July 4, to discuss a way forward after a high-level parliamentary panel, led by former president Kgalema Motlanthe, recommended that the act be repealed and that the trust be dissolved.
Mncwango said President Cyril Ramaphosa only went to KwaZulu-Natal last weekend "to soften the King" after he realised that the people in KZN were against the panel's recommendations.
"When he came to meet King Zwelithini, he became a chameleon and changed his colours and said the communal land would not be affected in the process of expropriation of land without compensation," said Mncwango, adding that expropriation of communal land was part of the ANC's resolutions at its national elective conference at Nasrec.
Over the weekend, Ramaphosa said he met King Zwelithini on July 6, following the imbizo in Ulundi.
"We have no intention whatsoever to even touch the land under the Ingonyama Trust. The recommendation by the high-level panel is just a recommendation. As government, we will not cancel the Ingonyama Trust. As the ANC government, we have no such intention," he said.
'You'll not be a government tenant'
During the imbizo, King Zwelithini took a jibe at the ANC-led government saying that the expropriation of land administered by the Ingonyama Trust was tantamount to "spitting on our forebears".
"They want to take away our land. I pray for them to continue fighting amongst each other even more," he said at the time.
Ramaphosa said the proposed expropriation of land without compensation drive would not target the 13% of communal land under traditional leaders.
"They hold that land on behalf of our people. The land that we're targeting for expropriation is the 87% of land, but we will do it under the confines of the Constitution," he said.
DA member of the National Council of Provinces Vusumzi Magwebu and DA member Ken Robertson, who have been part of the Constitutional Review Committee's (CRC) public hearing on land redistribution, accused the ANC and EFF of pushing for the state to be the sole owner of the land while "people became tenants on state land".
They said they believed that there was no need to amend Section 25 of the Constitution.
"The DA believes it's not the Constitution that has failed the people but the ANC," said Robertson.
He added that when the DA became a governing party it would give title deeds to those who lived on communal land.
"You'll own your own land and you'll not be a government tenant," Robertson said.
'There will be protests next year'
Magwebu said the ANC should have redistributed land in the last 24 years, "but due to corruption and fraud, people are not getting title deeds".
He said that out of the CRC hearings that they have attended, they picked up that millions of South Africans were "yearning" for ownership of the land.
He accused the ANC of misleading people when it said that, by amending Section 25 of the Constitution, people would own land.
"They only want to win votes and are using this matter and misleading our people in the quest to stay in power," he said.
Magwebu revealed that farmers were willing to participate in land redistribution as long as it was done under the perimeters of the Constitution.
The party said they believed that there would be more protests after the elections next year when the ANC-led government failed to keep its promise of land ownership.
"The truth is that they talk about the state owning land while people expect individual ownership of land. There will be protests next year when the people ask for their land," said Magwebu.
The DA also revealed that it had written to the South African Human Rights Commission referring the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform and requesting an investigation into the lack of protection for South Africans who have insecure land rights.