Leader of the Black First Land First movement Andile Mgnxitama pens an open letter to President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma.
Dear President Zuma
I’m duty bound to warn you against signing the Expropriation Bill into an Act of Parliament. The truth is that the ANC and Parliament have been misled by the Deputy Secretary General of the South African Communist Party (SACP), Mr Jeremy Cronin. It was Cronin who led the drafting of the Bill and gave it interpretations which are designed to deceive. The bottom line is that contrary to what the preamble of the Bill says, there is nothing new in the Bill to move land policy away from the failed and unethical “willing buyer, willing seller” practice.
The preamble of the Bill makes false promises. It says that the objective of the Bill is to speed land redistribution through introducing mechanisms so as to shift policy from current unworkable land dispensation. The Bill is ostensibly about introducing land expropriation without paying market values. We contend that these promised measures in the Bill are not capable of being discharged.
Essentially Mr President, there is nothing new in the Bill. It’s not my place to remind you how white communists in South Africa have never served the black cause with loyalty. We know that the big split in the ANC which caused your movement some of the best black minds, like Robert Sobukwe, was because white communists inpossed the Freedom Charter on the ANC. There is little doubt that had Lembede lived a little longer he too would have left the ANC upon the adoption of the Freedom Charter. Cronin had done it again with the Bill. Like the Freedom Charter the Bill surrenders our land rights to whites.
I don’t want to belabour the point but I’m sure you remember that the provision of RDP houses to blacks is the legacy of the first Minister of Housing, the ubber communist, Mr Joe Slovo. Apartheid built us “match box” four roomed houses. We blacks revolted against that racist insult. Slovo built us RDP houses which our people correctly call “dog kennels” but are expected to celebrate.
The point I’m making Mr President is that Cronin, as a direct beneficiary of land theft, has no emotional or psychological capacity and intent to design a program to end white land theft. Time and again your organization and the government (led by your organization) chose to rely on whites for advice on decolonisation. That’s like taking advice on how to keep a prison secured from a convicted criminal planning a jail break. It’s called shooting oneself in the foot. I’m avoiding calling it what it really is, which is stupidity.
Here are the questions you need to consider before signing the Bill. Firstly, does the Bill end the requirement that we should buy back our stolen land? Mr President they must not lie to you. They must not trick you about the lie that the Bill compels land owners to sell. The existing legislation already does that. Section 25(2)(a) of the SA Constitution already recognizes expropriation “for a public purpose or in the public interest”.
Secondly, ask them if the Bill recognizes that land in South Africa is stolen property? Then ask them on what moral and political basis do they base the requirement to buy back the stolen land?
Thirdly ask them how, if Cronin’s claim is true that the Bill ends the “willing buyer, willing seller” policy, are they going to determine compensation when expropriation happens. Ask them what is the criteria to be used to determine “just and equitable compensation”. Mr President, already three cases related to compensation have been determined by our courts. In all these cases the conclusion arrived at is that “just and equitable compensation” must be determined using the criteria of the market value of the relevant land. The Bill before you doesn’t address this issue. On the contrary it leaves final determination of the criteria for “just and equitable compensation” in the hands of the same courts that have shown bias towards land thieves.
Fourthly Mr President ask them why the Bill, like the Department of Land Affairs Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), has no legally binding targets of land delivery? If Cronin is so confident that his Bill will deliver land, why does the Bill not prescribe targeted hectares to be delivered at given times as a matter of law?
Mr President, send the Bill back. Demand a piece of legislation that is truthful to the requirement to end colonial land theft without placing the burden yet again on black people.
National Convener, Black First Land First