President Jacob Zuma on Monday urged South Africans to exercise their land rights‚ but spoke out against illegal land grabs.
Speaking at the opening of the Indigenous and Traditional Leaders Indaba in Boksburg‚ just hours after he survived yet another call for him to step down at an ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting‚ Zuma said people should refrain from occupying land illegally.
“Let me also take this opportunity to emphasise that‚ as government‚ we reject land grabs and unlawful occupation of land. That is not the way to address it‚ that could lead to further misery. The land question must be resolved within the ambit of the constitution and the law is the instrument we must utilise‚” said Zuma.
“Equally‚ it is the responsibility of our people to lodge land claims but only if they have proof that they own the land‚ not the whole of South Africa. That is why the ANC will discuss this critical matter at the coming policy conference next month‚” he said.
On the contrary‚ the president’s remarks differ from the Economic Freedom Fighters‚ who have been encouraging people to seize any piece of white-owned land they want. Party president Julius Malema told his supporters at a party meeting in 2014 to take over any land that is not occupied.
Zuma urged traditional leaders to approach attorneys from the Black Lawyers Association to handle issues of land in their communities because land was at the heart of the problems facing black people.
He also added that government is willing to engage with traditional leaders on the radical economic transformation programme and its implementation in rural areas.
The president made his first public appearance since the NEC tabled a motion of no confidence in his leadership and looked rather in a jovial mood at the Indaba.
The programme started on Monday and will end on Friday. Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to deliver a closing address at the end of the week.
– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE