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Maimane: Land must be given back, but with compensation

'I am arguing that where there is a debate around compensation, we can then deal with what the judicial system can do,' said DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane. Picture: 702

JOHANNESBURG - Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane has reiterated his party’s stance that compensation must take place in land redistribution.

Maimane was speaking about the DA's policies on Radio 702 with Eusebius McKaiser.

Responding to a caller’s question on whether land will be redistributed, Maimane said: “Absolutely. Where the DA governs, we’ve already accelerated the delivery of titles back to South Africans, over 100,000 already in the Western Cape. Here in Joburg over 6,000, it’s one of the things that we’ve become deliberate on. Secondly, I think when it comes to land reform in agricultural sectors, we’ve introduced programmes equity between both workers and therefore we’ve demonstrated the success of that programme.

“Thirdly, in terms of restitution, we are of the complete view that we don’t need an amendment of the Constitution. Expropriation without compensation already happens in our country, it just happens to black South Africans who don’t have title [deeds]. Therefore, if we give titles to citizens, we can ensure that they can be able to be just and equitably compensated as what Section 25 of the Constitution says. I am arguing that where there is a debate around compensation, we can then deal with what the judicial system can do.”

When McKaiser asked how much land which belonged to black people the DA has restituted, Maimane didn’t give a figure, but said the DA’s programme in the province is far ahead of other provinces and that there had been a 60% improvement rate with regards to agricultural land.

Maimane blamed national government and said it’s concerning that government has not allocated enough money for land reform and it indicates that the government doesn’t prioritise the matter highly enough.

LAND MUST BE RESTITUTED, BUT KEEP COMPENSATION

Further probing on the issue of land, McKaiser asked Maimane whether it is morally just for compensation to be provided for land that was taken from indigenous inhabitants.

In his response, Maimane said such land must be restituted.

“But here is the trial; Eusebius says ‘I want to live here. The graves of my forefathers are here. I want that land to be restituted to my family’. I am saying the determinant of that compensation ought to be the judicial system.”

He says that compensation should still be in place in such cases to avoid politicians deciding who gets land because of political connections.

“Why do we think the removal of compensation will mean the appropriate restitution of that land. It does not do that? Voters recognise that actually, they want their rights to be protected. If you say it must simply be expropriation without compensation and give political people the right to decide, you will end up with a Venezuela on your hands.”

ON RACISM

McKaiser asked Maimane if he thinks racism is still a big problem in the country, to which Maimane responded that it is.

“The secondary problem that it creates is that it creates political parties that think they can profit from it. That’s the next dangerous part when you, on one hand, have a party that says we are just for white people and on another end, you have a party that’s just for black people. That perpetuates racial polarisation which fuels the racial inequality that we have.”

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