‘Agricultural revolution’ needed to avoid more farms becoming derelict
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa will commission a study into what has been done with farms that have been redistributed since 1994. Speaking after a meeting in the Abathembu kingdom near East London, ahead of the ANC’s 106th anniversary celebrations this weekend, he said many of the farms that had been returned since 1994 were derelict.
An agriculture revolution was needed to ensure that land reform resulted in a productive outcome, he said.
“Many of those farms are not being worked. I am going to order a study to be made on all the returned agricultural land and what we can do with that agricultural land to change things [for the] better.
“Let us work this land. Let us demonstrate to ourselves to start with that we can actually work the land,” he said
“Let us demonstrate to all that we are ready to revolutionise agriculture in our land and that we are ready to go into agri-processing and that we are ready to set up industrial nodes all over in [our] rural areas.”
The ANC resolved at its national conference last month that it would initiate amendments to the constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation.
To do so, it would require the support of a section of the opposition to meet the twothirds threshold.
The EFF has previously promised to put its 6% at the ANC’s disposal for this purpose.
Ramaphosa, as the new ANC president, undertook in his closing remarks to the conference to lead the implementation of the policy. His comments yesterday were the first substantive remarks on land reform since his election.
The details of the policy, which was agreed upon at the 11th hour and over which debate was so heated that it almost collapsed the conference, are sketchy.
While the ANC placed some provisos on the conditions under which land may be expropriated, it has yet to release the wording of the final resolution on land reform.
At the conference, outgoing ANC economic policy head Enoch Godongwana said care would be taken to ensure neither food security nor the financial sector, to which farmers are heavily indebted, was negatively affected by the expropriation policy.
Ramaphosa echoed this in his remarks and said that, where appropriate, land ownership would be restored without compensation but in such a way that agricultural production was increased.
“To anybody who stands in the way of the implementation of ANC policies, we say we will push you out of the way.”
Ramaphosa said the ANC leadership was determined and prepared to work hard for the interests of the people.
“We are not working for a few people. We are not working for a few families,” he said in a side-swipe at former ANC president Jacob Zuma, who has been accused of allowing the state to be captured by the Gupta family.
Ramaphosa said thieves (amasela) must be thrown out.
Before meeting members of the Abathembu kingdom, Ramaphosa also met the family of late president Nelson Mandela at Qunu.
The ANC had initially requested that only the party’s top six be allowed to visit Mandela’s homestead and his gravesite‚ the late president’s grandson‚ Mandla Mandela, said yesterday afternoon.
Some top ANC leaders‚ including national executive committee (NEC) members Lindiwe Zulu and Noxolo Kiviet‚ were barred from entering the home by security, who said they were told to only allow the top six inside.
Mandla‚ who is also chief of the Mvezo and an ANC MP‚ said other NEC members were later allowed inside and were given breakfast like everybody else.
An agreement was then struck for a formal ANC visit to Mandela’s grave on February 11, the day he was released from Victor Verster prison in 1990.
Mandla said Madiba’s wife, Graca Machel, who was in Mozambique, had told him to open the gates for the ANC.
Zulu said: “We knew the meeting was between the family and the officials of the ANC.
“But there was a misunderstanding and we were blocked from entering the premises.
“The police had been given an instruction to only let the officials in and they followed that directive.”
Mandla said: “The family has agreed to observe the protocol and traditions and therefore will go to Nkosi Dalibhunga’s [Nelson Mandela] resting place and inform him and the ancestors of the visit of the entire ANC leadership that will take place on February 11.”– Additional reporting by Lulamile Feni