Chiefs bite back over land move

ANC must not forget where votes come from, Contralesa says in reply to resolution on custodianship

Traditional leaders have warned the ANC not to forget where its votes come from after the party resolved to limit chiefs’ authority over communal land. The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) said the resolution was a result of the party’s failure to hand back land to black South Africans.

Contralesa president Chief Mathibela Mokoena said the ANC did not want to deal decisively with the land issue‚ and instead had targeted traditional leaders.

“As traditional leaders‚ we are waiting for the government to tell us what they are planning to do about taking back the land‚ not these silly tactics of disrespecting us,” Mokoena said.

“We are against this resolution of theirs. If they lack the strategy to deal with the big issue‚ they must consult us. We have enough wisdom and a strategy on how to take back the land.

“They must stop bullying traditional leaders. We are not the enemy and they can’t wish us away.

“Most things go wrong because they are scared of speaking truth to power – the real land that our fathers fought for is still not ours.”

Mokoena said by interfering with communal land custodianship‚ the ANC was biting the hand that fed it.

“Come elections‚ they get the most votes from communities that are under traditional leaders. They must not forget. We deserve to be recognised and respected as important role players.

“All we ask is for them to consult us before making misleading announcements‚ because one day we will get tired of this treatment.”

The ANC resolved on Wednesday at its 54th national conference that it would remove some of the authority of traditional leaders over communal land‚ with the goal of eventually giving communities 13% of land.

Dr Aninka Claassens‚ who has researched land issues in South Africa for 25 years‚ said the resolution was not a triumph as it still did not give ownership to the individual.

“It’s more of the same. It’s actually disappointing. Land rights are still denied to the individual.

“You either transfer the title to the individual or a group‚” she said.

“A community like the council of traditional leaders is a group . . . what they must do is empower the individual‚ give rights and titles to individuals.” – TimesLIVE

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