Leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) Mmusi Maimane said that President Jacob Zuma has “gone rogue” on land reform and should be reined in by Parliament and the ANC.
The comments from the leader of the opposition come in response to comments Zuma made at the opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders on Friday morning, where Zuma said there needed to be a pre-colonial land audit, followed by the amendment of the relevant sections of the constitution to enable meaningful land reform.
“The economy is not in our hands. We are not in control of economic power,” Zuma said, adding: “The central element of the economy is land.”
The President called for an audit that would draw a map of pre-colonial land ownership, followed by legislation that would allow expropriation without compensation.
“First we must undertake a pre-colonial audit of land ownership, use and occupation patterns. Once the audit has been completed, a single law should be developed to address the issue of land restitution without compensation.
“The necessary constitutional amendments would then be undertaken to effect this process,” he said.
Maimane called the comments dangerous. “President Jacob Zuma’s dangerous comments on land reform this morning, while addressing the National House of Traditional Leaders, point to a man who has no clear vision or policies of his own, only dangerous rhetoric. The President has gone rogue on land reform, contradicting both his own Cabinet and the ANC’s Parliamentary Caucus; and he should be reined in by his party and by Parliament,” said DA leader Maimane in a statement.
The DA leader said that Zuma’s blaming of the constitution as being a hindrance to land reform were not true, saying that it “is corruption and bad policy that have been the greatest inhibitors to land redistribution and reform”. He quoted what he said were words attributable to ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu: “Just this morning ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu said that ‘blaming the Constitution for the embarrassingly slow pace of land reform is both disingenuous and scapegoating’. The President’s comments this morning are clearly not in keeping with the Constitution, or indeed with the policies of his own party.”
Maimane went on to say that the DA had used the constitution successfully in the Western Cape in land reform.