Alarming how charming it could be to go a Zuptoid farming…

The EFF-type land-grab lobby in the ANC is gaining momentum in the run up to the party’s July policy conference with President Zuma’s powerful KwaZulu-Natal backers joining the fray – just as disturbing research reveals huge potential land capture abuse. In an article in the academic journal “Review of African Political Economy” this month, the findings from a sample of 11 randomly selected land reform projects in the Sarah Baartman district of the Eastern Cape, (studied over three years), make for a hugely cautionary tale. Concluding that the current debate is “myopic”; the researchers find that the reform is “contorted” and governed by state officials, consultants and agribusiness strategic partners concerned with surveillance and control of ‘beneficiaries’ in ‘projects’. This enables major abuse with most of the black people involved having to settle for “precarious tenure on un-subdivided commercial farms now owned by the state”. Meanwhile, the ANC KZN chairperson, Sihle Zikalala, is proposing land expropriation without compensation, failing which they will mobilise for a national referendum on the question. Again, Zuma is at idem with the EFF and at odds with his own party’s discussion paper which calls for fair compensation for any real estate it acquires to address racial inequalities. The policy conference should give us an early indication of just how the current arm wrestle for the future leadership of the party is going. Heaven forfend that the Zuptoids go a-farming. – Chris Bateman

by Sam Mkokeli

(Bloomberg) – One of the most influential leaders of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress backed a suggestion by President Jacob Zuma that the state be allowed to expropriate land without having to pay for it.

ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala sits next to Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe at the KwaZulu-Natal Growth Coalition Workshop banquet.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, which has the most ANC members of the nine provinces, will be pushing for the sanctioning of land seizures at a party policy conference that begins June 30, said Sihle Zikalala, the party’s regional chairman.

“As KwaZulu-Natal, our proposition is expropriation of land with no compensation,” he said in an interview Wednesday in Johannesburg. “If we don’t agree on expropriation, we will have to take a view of ensuring that we mobilize for a referendum.’’

In an address to traditional leaders in Cape Town on March 3, Zuma called for an audit of land ownership, use and occupation patterns prior to the period when European settlers arrived in the country, and once it’s been completed for the law and constitution to be changed to address the issue of land restitution without compensation.

Two days later, the ANC released a discussion paper saying the state should pay fair compensation for any real estate it acquires to address racial inequality that persists almost 23 years after the end of white minority rule.

The ANC suffered its worst-ever electoral performance in a municipal vote in August, amid mounting discontent over high levels of poverty, unemployment and corruption. It’s won more than 60 percent of the vote in every national election since it took power in 1994.

The ANC must become more resolute in implementing its policies, or it will become irrelevant, Zikalala said.

“People will take it for granted,” he said. “They will see it as an organization that does not honor its decisions.”

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