By BO Staff Writer
Black First Land First (BLF) president, Andile Mngxitama told journalists on Tuesday that white people are not invited to a land gathering that the movement is organising.
“White people must not come unless they are coming to give us our land back,” Mngxitama said, answering a question from a journalist. “We [black people] are very angry. We cannot guarantee their safety.”
Mngxitama was speaking at a press conference in Gandhi Square, where he announced that the movement would be hosting a “National Dialogue” on land, where all black people from all political parties, organizations and movements are welcome.
“BLF wishes to repeat that the resolution of the land question is bigger than any single political party. The return of the land to its rightful owners requires society itself to respond in unison. It is for this reason that a National Land Imbizo is proposed,” Mngxitama said.
He went further to clarify that all land in white hands in South Africa was attained through colonial theft, and that most of the strife experienced by black people today, was due to this long injustice.
According to Mngxitama, the Land Imbizo is a forum where black people can discuss and plan for a multi-pronged action towards taking back their land.
“We don’t want words we want action!” he said. “The main objective of the Land Imbizo is to return land to black people so that we may be free!”
Mngxitama said that President Jacob Zuma’s call for “expropriation of land without compensation” must be supported.
Read the full press statement below:
LAND IMBIZO PRESS CONFERENCE
“We will not achieve true reconciliation until the land issue is resolved.” – President Jacob Zuma
Black First Land First (BLF) is calling for a National Dialogue amongst the disposessed of our country. After twenty-two years of democracy, black people remain landless, racism is rife and poverty is deepening. South Africa is a country of strife and sorrow for the majority of its population.
Political parties are divided and fighting over insignificant issues when the fundamental question of who owns South Africa remains unresolved.
Our country needs bold leadership and vision to return the land to its rightful owners. This is a call for unity in action so as to correct the historical injustice which befell our country in 1652 with the arrival of the Europeans at our shores.
The President of the country, Mr Jacob Zuma has, on more than three occasions, made the call for “land expropriation without compensation”. This is the most important call to be made by a sitting president since 1994. This call deserves the support of all righteous people irrespective of their political, religious or cultural beliefs. Land was stolen and it must be restored – nothing could be more important.
After 23 years only 8% of the land has been bought back. South Africa is made up of 54 million people but only 35 000 white families own 80% of the land.
At the current pace, it will take us more than 100 years to buy back only 30% of the land. Farm workers are slaves because they are landless, more than a million farm workers have been evicted since 1994.
The constitution of SA does not allow land to be given back to its rightful owners. This must be changed, but it can’t happen if we are not united, inside and outside parliament.
The call to return the land demands that we suspend all our differences and unite around the struggle to correct an injustice we didn’t commit. This we owe to all those who came before us and bravely faced land thieves but were unfortunately defeated. We owe it to our ancestors who fought the colonialists. We owe it to ourselves and our progeny to return the land now!
BLF is serious about black unity. We have invited all black political parties, including the PAC, AZAPO, ANC, EFF and others, its up to them to respond to the call.
Recently the nation saw how political parties in parliament failed to rally behind the call to return the land. Whatever their differences and reasons may have been, failure to respond positively to the moment means that an important opportunity has been lost! It also shows that politicians alone cannot resolve the land question by themselves.
Similarly, the proposal on the question of land indicated in the ANC policy discussion documents shows that the ruling party has missed a great opportunity to give content and leadership to the call for land return. The ANC discussion policy document says blacks must buy back the land. This shows that those who are responsible for developing policy are not interested in land being returned. The people who wrote those policies are going against the word and vision of President Zuma. Politics and fighting for positions have been elevated above the commitment to return land.
We call on ANC branches and delegates to the policy conference to speak with one voice and reject the notion that we blacks must buy back our land.
BLF wishes to repeat that the resolution of the land question is bigger than any single political party. The return of the land to its rightful owners requires society itself to respond in unison. It is for this reason that a National Land Imbizo is proposed.
The National Land Imbizo is a convention of the nation to deliberate on an important issue that affects us all. The gathering is for all political organisations, people’s movements, religious, students, women’s, youth as well as civil society organisations, traditional healers & leaders, and all other interested people who have lost land and want it returned.
Progressive international organizations, individuals and other entities are also invited. The National Land Imbizo is a non partisan forum which seeks to give direction to the resolution of the land question in our country.
The main objective of the Land Imbizo is to return land to black people so that we may be free!
Outcomes of the National Land Imbizo:
A land declaration shall be pronounced and a Program of Action which will outline what each of the following important constituencies must do:
1. Parliament (black political parties in parliament)
2. The Government
3. The landless
4. Land theft beneficiaries (whites who are holding on to the stolen land)
We don’t want words we want action!
The Land Imbizo shall hear the voices of the landless and victims of racism. Amongst others:
1. Farm workers
2. Traditional leaders
3. Traditional healers
4. Land claimants
6. Evictees (bond houses, inner cities, occupied land)
7. Shack dwellers
8. Zama zama or artisinal miners.
9. The family of the victim of racism in Coligny, the late Mahlomola Mosweu has been invited.
10. Women’s voices against the raging violence against them.
Our country is deeply unwell. Our society is facing ongoing crises. The poor and dispossessed are at war against each other. Boundaries that define brotherhood and sisterhood are broken. Blacks are at each others throats, we murder 17 000 of one another each year! This is war borne from colonialism and capitalism. Families are dysfunctional. Our children have lost hope and are consumed by despair and drugs like nyaope. The attack on women is part of this social anomy. The foundation of this social dislocation is land dispossession.
It’s time to unite and take back the land. Whites have sold blacks a lie that we can be politicians and shout at each other in parliament as if that would change anything. Without land we have no country and have no national independence and therefore parliament becomes a joke and possible source of black on black violence to protect white monopoly capital which has our land and our diamonds and gold.
Until we return the land we cannot address the root causes of the social strife we are experiencing, not just in urban areas but also in the rural. Without land we are nothing!
The Land Imbizo shall close with music performances from artists like KO, Moneoa, Kwesta, Blondie Makhene, Jargon Music and Iphupho LikaBiko. Entrance is free. We ask those who will be coming to be early.
We hope to see you all in Soweto Mofolo Park.
The land is ours!