“We will not achieve true reconciliation until the land issue is resolved,” Zuma said in his address, after the Economic Freedom Fighters MPs were dragged out of the National Assembly in the worst violence seen since the party began challenging his legitimacy.
Zuma quoted known figures confirming that only eight million hectares of the country’s 82 million hectares of arable land had been transferred to black owners.
He urged beneficiaries to retain land instead of opting for financial compensation, saying it was regrettable that black involvement in farming had declined sharply last year, with their retreat from the land conceivably hastened by the drought afflicting the country.
“We appeal to land claimants to accept land instead of financial compensation. This is very important,” he stressed.
“If you accept finance you use it in short time, it is gone, it is important that you remain with the land, not the money.”
He added that perhaps it was a failure when the post-democratic government initiated land reform, to give claimants the option to choose compensation.
Zuma added that he had referred the Expropriation Bill, passed by the National Assembly last year, back to Parliament, saying it would not pass constitutional muster.
“This is due to inadequate public participation during its processing.
We trust that Parliament will be able to move with speed in meeting the requirements so that the law can be finalised to effect transformation.
– African News Agency (ANA)