Zuma says govt ready to address land redistribution issues

President Zuma has told traditional leaders that they must work together with government to redistribute land among its rightful owners within the confines of the law.

Minister of Cooperative Governance Des van Rooyen (left) and President Jacob Zuma (centre) attend the Indigenous and traditional leader’s Indaba in Boksburg. Picture: Mia Lindique/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – President Jacob Zuma says the government is ready to address the issue of land redistribution with traditional leaders as it is the basis of economic liberation.

Zuma is speaking at the opening of the first indigenous and traditional leader’s Indaba in Boksburg on Monday morning.

It’s his first time appearing in public since surviving another bid to unseat him in the African National Congress (ANC) national executive committee.

The president has spoken about how socio-economic matters will take priority at the event.

“We face the challenges of slow economic transformation, regardless of progress made in the past few years, black people are still left behind with regards to the ownership and control of the economy.”

He says issues of fighting poverty will also be thoroughly discussed.

“The economic liberation of our people is fundamentally based on land redistribution, ownership and we can’t compromise on this.”

At the same time, Zuma has told traditional leaders that they must work together with government to redistribute land among its rightful owners within the confines of the law.

Zuma says traditional leaders must appoint attorneys to help communities lodge a land claim.

Zuma says traditional leaders are experts in this sector as their forefathers fought in the war over land.

But the president says those who have rightfully been given their land back shouldn’t sell it to make money.

He says traditional leaders must deliberate on ways to ensure that those with successful land claims don't go on to sell that land at a later stage.

The president says people must not be greedy and only think of becoming rich when they sell their land only to leave next generations with nothing.

“Because money is the root of all evil. If people choose money, even it’s in the millions, by the times it is distributed – it is just a few thousands.”

He says if people continue to sell the land they have repossessed, the country will never be able to break the circle of poverty.

“They should have the right to be assisted by the government to develop the land and make it productive.”

Zuma says government and traditional leaders must help communities through programmes to use the land and minerals to uplift communities.

Zuma also stressed that government will never support land occupation or land grabs.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)