Residents get electricity in their homes for the first time in DA-led Jozi

In 2015, the residents of Slovo Park took the City of Johannesburg to court for its failure to provide services to them after, what was then, 21 years of democracy.

On 19 February 2018, installation of electricity infrastructure commenced in the area and today, after waiting for over 20 years to receive basic services, each of the 3734 informal households in Slovo Park and the 3000 RDP homes in Elias Motsoaledi have been successfully connected to electricity.

“Today I had the pleasure of seeing first-hand the smiles on resident’s faces as we officially declared the electrification of Slovo Park and Elias Motsoaledi complete.”

 – Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba

City Power has also completed an awareness campaign aimed at educating the community of Slovo Park on the importance of taking ownership of the electricity network, dangers of illegal connections, saving electricity and the importance of paying for services rendered by the City of Joburg.

“This is part of our pro-poor agenda to uplift those communities that cannot help themselves. As part of the electricity roll-out, we aim to bring dignity to our people and steer them away from connecting to electricity illegally.”

–  Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba

You can read the full story here


BOKAMOSO | Let’s rewrite our future, not our past

In 1962, during his Commencement Address at Yale University, John F Kennedy had this to say about the danger of substituting myths for truths: “The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

More than half a century later, we are seeing first-hand in our own democracy how myths – “widely held but false ideas” – are employed to capture the narrative and deflect attention away from failures. This is something the ANC is very fond of doing. The longer it can keep the public attention away from its many failures, the better. But in recent weeks the practice has been turbocharged, with a more brazen rewriting of our history than ever.

We’ve had to hear, from some, how Nelson Mandela was a “sell-out”. How his project of reconciling our fractured nation was somehow responsible for the injustice, inequality and exclusion that still characterises our society today. It is difficult to imagine a more preposterous suggestion. 

We’ve had to witness Desmond Tutu’s name being dragged through the mud, and aspersions cast over the important work he and the Commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission did in the 90’s.

We’ve had to watch as principled journalists – men and women who fought for truth and exposed the apartheid government – were summarily rebranded as apartheid spies in the service of the notorious Stratcom division.

We’ve had to hear repeated lies about Judge Ramon Leon following his death – newspapers incorrectly calling him the “hanging judge”, and influential commentators and politicians happily going along with the lie.

The big question is: Why? Why is there this desire to rewrite our history? Why is it deemed necessary to tarnish the names of honourable men and women in order to establish a new set of myths as the “truth”? Post-truth politics is a very slippery slope that doesn’t end well for society. Why would we risk going there?

The answer is simple. The South Africa of today has fallen far short of the promises made to millions of our people. And the people that delivered us here, a quarter of a century into our democracy, have run out of credible explanations for our present and believable promises for our future. The only option that remains is to rewrite our past to conjure up new enemies that could explain the failure of the ANC today.

George Orwell famously wrote in his 1984 novel: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” In other words, if you can determine how history is remembered and retold, you can secure your power going forward. And if you have power right now, you can ensure that you are the writer of this history.

This explains the obsessive arguing over past narratives. If South Africans can be convinced that the 1994 consensus was actually a deal with the devil, then this can be used to excuse the present mess and lay claim to the future.

And so we see, from the ANC, a fixation with symbolism over substance. This allows them to avoid the hard work of changing people’s lives. It buys them leeway when it comes to delivering services, holding poor performance to account, tackling corruption, fixing education and creating an environment in which South Africa’s entrepreneurial spirit can awaken.

It’s a self-serving tactic that is used at great cost to the people of this country. It ignores their lived reality and it offers them no plan to improve this reality. Instead, it just conjures up more scapegoats and enemies to blame.

Unfortunately our media are often complicit in this. They allow narratives to be framed by the ANC, and they accept their rewritten version of the past as the truth. These debates then dominate our discourse, at the expense of real stories about the failures of government in our schools, our hospitals and our communities – stories that tell of the lived experience of millions of South Africans.

It’s not easy to shift the narrative back to the issues that matter. The DA is constantly accused of not having a plan for South Africa. But the truth is that there is no other party with as many detailed and costed policies as the DA, as any cursory visit to our website would show. The trouble is that in the world of clickbait and social media soundbite politics, our plans and our policy are typically not deemed newsworthy when held up against the myths of the ANC. 

This will not deter us though. The DA is the party for the future. We are not concerned with owning and rewriting the past. Our job is to convince enough people that we have a vision and a plan to build a future that works for all.

I’m talking about a truly democratic era where people go to the ballot to express their future ideals and not their race. I’m talking about a future with a healthy, inclusive economy that can wipe out the inequalities in our society derived from race. A future where our country is a sought-after investment destination and the gateway to Africa. A future where all young people receive an education that enables them to compete for a better tomorrow; where the landless can be owners and where the hungry can escape poverty.

This is the South Africa we have to build together. Because if we continue down the path we’re currently on, then we have to accept that our future is already written for us. And that is not a future I want for my children. That’s why we need total change.

Forget about rewriting the past – we need to rewrite our future.

DA puts President and Ministers on terms to deny Mugabe asylum

The DA has today written to President Jacob Zuma and relevant Ministers, to put them on terms to not entertain granting President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, or his wife, Grace Mugabe, political asylum in South Africa. We believe that to do so would be illegal and in contravention of the Refugees Act (130 of 1998)
Should the Mugabe’s be granted asylum, the DA will not hesitate to approach the courts to interdict or review her decision.
Asylum is applied for in terms of Section 21 of the Act, and is defined as “refugee status”. Section 4 of the Act which deals with “exclusion from refugee status”, states that:
“(1) A person does not qualify for refugee status for the purposes of this Act if there is reason to believe that he or she –

  1. has committed a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity, as defined in any international legal instrument dealing with any such crimes; or
  2. has committed a crime which is not of a political nature and which, if committed in the Republic, would be punishable by imprisonment; or
  3. has been guilty of acts contrary to the objects and principles of the United Nations Organisations, or Organisation of African Unity; or
  4. enjoys the protection of any other country in which he or she has taken residence.”

Mr Mugabe’s hands are far from clean and there is clear “reason to believe” that he orchestrated a series of massacres, known as the Gukurahundi, against the Ndebele people in the early 1980’s.
Furthermore, he has presided over the violent oppression, arrest and targeting of opposition members throughout the better part of the last two decades and culminating with Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, withdrawing from the 2008 election, citing a campaign of violence against his supporters which made free and fair elections impossible.
To grant Mr Mugabe asylum would put beyond any doubt the ANC government’s departure from the human rights-based foreign policy envisaged and championed by Nelson Mandela. The ANC has made it clear that they will not hesitate to break our laws to protect “big men” of Africa, as they did by letting wanted war criminal Omar al-Bashir escape.
The DA supports the people of Zimbabwe and stands firm in the defence of democracy and rule of law.

Zimbabwe crisis: Robert Mugabe must step down and free and fair elections held immediately

The current instability in Zimbabwe must be a cause for concern for all African countries who stand for democracy on the continent. According to reports, the Zimbabwean Defence Force has moved into the country’s capital, Harare, to “target criminals” aligned to President Robert Mugabe – the first signs of what appears to be a military coup.
This follows President Mugabe’s decision to fire his Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, last week, bringing to the surface the deep-seated factionalism within the ruling ZANU-PF. As is the case with liberation movements across Africa, ZANU-PF has become immersed in the politics of patronage, where political infighting for resources and power is rife – while the country swiftly deteriorates.
We therefore call for fresh elections to be held in Zimbabwe as soon as practically possible, and for Robert Mugabe to immediately resign as President of Zimbabwe. This will allow the people of Zimbabwe to choose a new direction for their country, and to free themselves from the tyrannical reign of Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF. True democracy is adhering to the will of the people, not the internal politics and arrangements of liberation movements.
In addition to this, we call on the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, to provide our country with an urgent briefing on the nature and extent of the crisis in Zimbabwe, including what action our government will take. South Africa cannot continue with its “quiet diplomacy” while the people of Zimbabwe suffer.  We must engage with the goal of finding a solution which does not open the door for another dictator to take the reins.
While the involvement of the military in politics is never to be celebrated, it must be noted that the original sin in the sad collapse of Zimbabwe was the South African government’s failure, under President Mbeki, to stand up for democracy and enforce the results of the 2008 election. Allowing Mr Mugabe to remain in office even after losing an election clearly sowed the seeds for what we are seeing today.
As Chairperson of the Southern African Platform for Democratic Change (SAPDC), I have engaged with the opposition in Zimbabwe on a number of occasions, and it is clear that the only way forward is for free and fair elections to be held as soon as possible.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) stands firm in our commitment to the advancement of vibrant, competitive, multiparty democracy, the rule of law, and the entrenchment of human rights and free speech across Africa. History has taught us that failed liberation movements cannot and will not self-correct. The solution has to come from outside these movements.

Realising my dream of building a better South Africa

The following speech was delivered by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, on acceptance of the 2017 Avicenna Leadership Award at the Avicenna Leadership Academy in Utrecht, Netherlands. 
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and distinguished guests,
I am truly humbled to be here today to receive the Avicenna Leadership Award.
This award is testament to the hard work we, the Democratic Alliance, have been doing for many years now in an effort to restore the democratic project in South Africa.
South Africa’s history is one of competing racial nationalisms. It is a history of the Dutch Settlers who came to the Cape of Good Hope, British Colonialism, Afrikaner Nationalism and now African Nationalism. Ours is a history of a people being marginalised and excluded in the land of their birth.
Europe knows all too well the terrible impact nationalism has when it is taken to its final bloody conclusion. Europe had to fight to defeat the evil of nationalism and to establish, once and for all, the values of tolerance, modernity, inclusiveness, and the rule of the law. Now, 70 years later, nationalism and hate is on the rise again on this continent.
We hope, in the words of a slogan that has become popular once more for obvious reasons, that “love will trump hate”.
My fight in South Africa today is to help write an entirely new chapter for our country, where competing nationalisms do not define the future of young people.
I am a child to two parents who came to Soweto as migrant workers under Apartheid. My mother worked as cashier, in a system that did not recognise her self-worth, and my father worked for a lock-making company. One can’t help but wonder what trajectory they would have had if Apartheid had not pushed them to the excluded fringe of society.
My parents believed that, despite their background, if they worked hard their children could have a better tomorrow. Their devotion made it possible for me to escape the cycle of poverty that still traps so many black South Africans today.
Nothing has undermined our new democracy more than the evil scourge of corruption, which has been underpinned by the grand project of capturing the state for the purposes of personal enrichment.
In developing societies, the state can be a powerful tool for spreading opportunity more fairly and alleviating poverty. But the state can also be used crudely to funnel money to the corrupt, and thereby to further impoverish and punish the poor.
We cannot secure a better future until we crush the evil of corruption in our present. This is why my party has been so devoted to this cause.
It is an honour to be recognised for this work because it confirms that we’re making an impact. And it confirms that this impact is seen and felt far beyond our own borders. We are part of a connected global community and it is important that we have allies.
When South Africans were battling the oppressive Apartheid government in the 1970’s and 1980’s, they leant heavily on the support of allies abroad. We know that the anti-Apartheid movement was strong and vocal in the Netherlands, and we thank you for that.
Today, 23 years into our democracy, we find ourselves face to face with a new, insidious threat that will require a similar level of global solidarity to overcome.
It is time for us to liberate ourselves from the liberators. We must break the cycle of corruption and maladministration before there is nothing left on which to rebuild South Africa.
The party I lead is committed to rebuilding South Africa into a strong and stable democracy with a robust and inclusive economy – a country that not only works for all its people, but also reaffirms its place in Africa and the world. And while we know what a mammoth task this will be, we also know that we have the tools to succeed.
You see, the project of the DA is built around inclusivity. We don’t believe in the divisive rhetoric of failed liberation movements and radical populists. We don’t mobilise people around race and ethnicity.
Instead, we have a set of well-documented values. And our message to voters, to business, to civil society, to opposition parties and even to moral elements within the ruling party is simply this: If you share our key values, then you can be part of this project.
These values are Constitutionalism, the Rule of Law, a belief in an inclusive market economy, zero tolerance for corruption, non-racialism and the building of a capable state. I truly believe that if we succeed in rallying a majority of South Africans around these six values, we will be able to transcend the narrow Nationalism that has dominated our country for so long and build the South Africa we all want to see.
I was asked to speak here today about my dreams and my achievements. Well, this South Africa I’m describing here – growing, prosperous, inclusive, safe and tolerant – that is my dream. And playing a part in bringing about this change in the country I love is the only achievement I’ll ever be interested in.
You can be a part of this effort. Come to South Africa. Invest. Start businesses. Buy our products. A new beginning is coming for South Africa, and when it does, I am asking you to help us achieve our dream.
I hope that, should I ever speak to you again at this forum, it will be to report back on our country’s transition from post-liberation politics to a true democracy with freedom for all our people.
Thank you for this award, on behalf of the people of South Africa.

Biko taught us the power of an idea

Today 40 years ago, anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko was brutally murdered by a government which saw the power of his ideas as a threat to an unjust system of racial injustice.
Biko stood for the idea which said that we are not defined by the colour of our skin or the shape of our nose, but by the content of our character. Moreover, he taught us that ideas – and the freedom to promote and defend these ideas – has the power to shape the future and create a just and fair society for all.
40 years on, and our challenge is to build a post nationalist society, where it is not a competition of races, but where the rights of all individuals – whether black or white – can be protected and advanced. Moreover, today marks a moment to reflect on how we advance the dignity of those who are still left behind. We can and we must build an inclusive and prosperous society for all.
Steve Biko’s murder was a watershed moment in the struggle for freedom for black South Africans, and today we celebrate and commemorate his legacy. We now have a rights based constitution thanks to the struggle symbolised today by the death of Steve Biko. Each day, we as South Africans must protect these rights, and work hard to ensure that freedom is not just an intangible idea – but a right which truly liberates black South Africans from the legacy of apartheid.
It is now our responsibility to ensure that the ideas Steve Biko died for are upheld, and that we continue to fight discrimination and injustice in all forms. This is the legacy that Steve Biko left behind, and a legacy we must all honour.

Hichilema’s release the first step towards restoring democracy in Zambia

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the release of Zambian opposition leader, Hakainde Hichelima, from prison this morning following a decision by the State to drop the baseless treason charges brought against him in April this year.
The DA has said from the beginning that the charges of treason against Mr Hichilema were trumped up and clearly motivated by a government intent on eliminating a political opponent. Hichilema was arrested back in April for allegedly failing to give way to President Lungu’s motorcade.
The violent nature of his arrest, and the inhumane treatment that Hichilema received in detention, confirms the political motives behind these charges. The arbitrary arrest of political opponents is a hallmark of authoritarian regimes, which seek to systematically eliminate any potential threat to their rule.
The release of Hichilema is the first step towards restoring democracy in Zambia, and ensuring that the rule of law and the entrenchment of human rights and free speech are entrenched not just in Zambia, but across the African continent.
There is still much more to be done to restore true democracy to Zambia. The country is still under a state of emergency, characterised by “increased security measures” and the suppression of free speech and press freedom. Opposition party members have been arrested en masse, and opposition members are still not present in Parliament. Democracy cannot survive without an effect opposition, holding those in power to account.
The party Mr Hichilema leads, the United Party for National Development (UPND), is a sister party to the DA and a co-member of Southern African Partnership for Democratic Change (SAPDC) – a body which I chair. As such, the DA will continue to work with Mr Hichilema and the UPND to deepen democracy in the Southern African region and advance values such as freedom of speech and human rights.
We call on the African Union (AU), the South African Development Community (SADC), and all other regional bodies, political parties, and civil society to join us in the fight for democratic change on the African continent.

We live in an abnormal constitutional democracy

Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Adv Glynnis Breytenbach MP, during the Budget Vote on the Office of the Chief Justice and Judicial Administration.
We live in a time when the debate on vote 22, the Office of the Chief Justice, again attracts more attention than would have been the case had we lived in a normal constitutional democracy. But then, of course, we do not.
We live in a constitutional democracy described by the President, who should be one of the ultimate guardians of this constitutional democracy, as a “funny” democracy. And he is the only one laughing! Particularly when he displays his total inability to understand the role of the judiciary in scrutinising all exercise of public power.
But he, of course, is not alone in this inability. It is clearly an extremely contagious affliction that has spread not only through his entire cabinet, or what remains of it, but through his entire party.
In his speech on this vote on 19 May 2015, the Honourable Minister of Justice stated as follows:
“Today’s maiden budget vote debate of the Office of the Chief Justice marks an important turning point in the 21 years of our democracy. The independence of the judiciary is crucial in view of the role it plays in a constitutional democracy within the context of separation of powers.”
He then went on to quote, with approval, former Chief Justice Ngcobo who remarked:
“The role of the judiciary in a constitutional democracy is an expansive one. Decisions of judges affect many people. Courts have the power to overrule even the most popular decisions of the other arms of the state if they believe they are contrary to the constitution. The acceptance and support of these and all court decisions by society depends upon public confidence in the integrity and independence of the judiciary”.
Maybe the President is correct in saying that we live in a funny democracy, because, what would have been funny if it was not so terribly sad, is that on every occasion since then where the courts have performed exactly this function, they were roundly criticised and derided by the President and members of his cabinet in a manner that can no longer be seen as merely a discussion of court rulings, but which can only be seen as an attempt to intimidate the judiciary.
Chairperson, then from left of the stage, entered yet more “thieves”, this time of the allegedly common and garden variety, or at least that is what the Acting Commissioner of Police wanted the country to believe, when he rounded up three unfortunate passers-by and tried to pass them off as criminal masterminds of the calibre of George Clooney and Brad Pitt in a South African version of Ocean’s Eleven.
What, however, remains unanswered, is exactly how the real thieves, who remain undetected, gained access to a building that should be totally secure, whether a CCTV camera system was operational at the time, and if so, how it was circumvented, as well as the progress, or lack thereof, in tracking down these real thieves.
Chairperson, in all seriousness, it was with a great measure of discomfort that we learned that the budget allocation to the Office of the Chief Justice will not allow this department to strengthen security measures through their own resources.
If the President, and his colleagues within the ANC, are really serious about the practical implementation of the separation of powers, it must follow that the Office of the Chief Justice should not be dependent on another of the arms of state for its safety measures.
Chairperson, on the right of stage, and present there since before this department was established in 2015, and afforded its own budget vote, remains of course, the issue of a judicially-led court administration model. From the outside, looking in, it would seem that the Minister of Justice approaches this issue with the theory that if he turns a blind eye to it for long enough, it will simply go away – like we sometimes wish he would.
The stance of the judiciary on this matter is clear, and since nothing real has happened to address the standoff since this debate last year, we re-iterate:
The Democratic Alliance supports a model through which the judiciary be allowed, in a manner similar to that of the Auditor General, to negotiate directly with Treasury regarding its budgetary allocation.
Accountability in regard to how this budget would be spent should be enforced by a Parliamentary Committee set up specifically for this purpose, rather than the Portfolio Committee for Justice and Correctional Services.
This unwillingness to constructively deal with the issue must be read against the backdrop of the continuous and continued criticism of the President, members of his cabinet and others within his polluted inner circle.
From accusations that the collective mindset of the judiciary is in need of ‘transformation’, to statements that certain divisions met with what was called ‘characters’ before producing counter-revolutionary judgements to a more specific accusation that specifically the Western Cape and Northern Gauteng benches assisted efforts by opposition parties to govern through our courts – we have heard it all.
After the Nkandla judgement, scathing attacks were launched on the judiciary by many in the ANC, particularly those that rushed, predictably, to the defence of the President, the hand that feeds them.
After the judgement in the matter of Al-Bashir, cabinet ministers openly attacked the judiciary. In particular, Minister Mbalula and Minister Nzimande were most outspoken in their criticism of the judiciary.
When the President addressed the House of Traditional Leaders, he told them that the judiciary was not to be trusted, that judges found one guilty for stating one’s case, even when one was innocent.
The attacks on the judiciary were of such an alarming scale that the Chief Justice was moved to request a meeting with the president in order to address the attacks and the effects thereof.
The meeting took place, and a stone-faced Chief Justice, and a predictably giggly president, told the nation that the proverbial hatchet had been buried, and that a new understanding had been reached, re-affirming the importance and the independence of the judiciary.
For as long as this budget does not facilitate complete independence of the judiciary, the DA cannot support this budget.

BOKAMOSO | Our Constitution is the most powerful tool we have to effect land reform

The 1913 Land Act dispossessed millions of black South Africans, denying them the right to buy land in most of South Africa or even to farm white-owned land as tenants or sharecroppers. Further legislation caused millions more to be forcibly removed from the land they lived on and owned during Apartheid. These inhumane, immoral laws had devastating socio-economic repercussions, causing and continuing to cause tremendous pain and loss of dignity, and entrenching the deep racial inequality, poverty and resentment that still plagues our society today.
Our Constitution was designed to achieve justice and redress, and to prevent arbitrary, destructive deprivation ever happening again. However, the ANC government’s land reform efforts since 1994 have been an unmitigated failure. The failure rate, depending on the measurement of success, has been calculated as between 73% and 90%.
Last Tuesday, the EFF led a debate in Parliament calling for an amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution to allow expropriation of land without compensation. The motion was rejected by MPs of most other parties, including the ANC. Three days later on Friday, President Zuma echoed EFF sentiments in an address to Traditional Leaders calling on “black parties” to unite to enable expropriation without compensation. Fortunately, Zuma does not have the backing of his party or government, though the ANC commonly blames the Constitution for land reform failure.
Land reform is a social, moral and constitutional imperative. It can and should be made to work. There is nothing in the Constitution that limits the government from implementing land reform rapidly and successfully. In fact, our Constitution is the most powerful tool we have for achieving justice and redress in land reform. Changing it will not fix our land reform problems. Instead, it will put South Africans at risk of experiencing the same deprivation and disaster now being suffered in Zimbabwe.
The ANC and the EFF like to scapegoat the Constitution for failed land reform when in fact it is due to failed policy and corruption. It is disingenuous and lazy to blame the Constitution. One major policy downfall is that government has prioritised allocating land over helping beneficiaries to farm it productively, resulting in unproductive land, which helps neither the recipients, nor South Africa at large. The transfer of skills and support into beneficiary communities is absolutely critical to a successful land reform process.
Another is the unintended consequences of state ownership with long-term leases for beneficiaries. Without title to the land, beneficiaries are unable to access the credit they need to farm productively. In many cases leases are not given at all or, worse still, are given to “strategic partners” rather than the beneficiaries themselves, creating avenues for elite enrichment and corruption. With neither title nor lease, there is little to distinguish “beneficiaries” from squatters on state-owned land.
Corruption is the biggest problem of all. Land reform deals often involve inflated prices that enrich the elite. Last month, the Sunday Times reported on a Limpopo farm that Agriculture Minister Gugile Nkwinti lined up for two ANC cronies. The deal cost R130 million of public money, while 31 farm workers went unpaid and a productive farm fell into disrepair. The Mala Mala land claim deal cost taxpayers R1 billion and yet the “beneficiary” community has not seen any benefits and remains in deep poverty.
Government puts much blame on the “willing seller willing buyer” approach. But if government were serious about acquiring land for reform, they could go onto the open market and buy farms for a bargain, without having to go through the arduous land claims process. Currently, arable land in SA is very cheap because of the drought. There is an unprecedented number of commercial farms on the market, especially smaller farms. The fact is that the ANC government lacks the will, competence and integrity to effect successful land reform. It has failed despite the Constitution, not because of it.
Policy uncertainty and the ANC’s radical economic transformation rhetoric is already deterring long-term investment in agriculture. A move to expropriation without compensation will open the way for the kind of uncontrolled, arbitrary land seizures that happened in Zimbabwe in 2000, which has reduced the country from an exporter of grain, to a recipient of food aid for over four million people.
Where the DA governs, we make land reform a priority and it happens faster than anywhere else in South Africa. This is why the DA-led Western Cape has delivered in total over 75 000 title deeds since 2009, more than any other province. This number includes the transfer of title deeds to housing beneficiaries in urban areas – the DA believes that urban land reform is a very important empowerment tool. In national government, we would enact legislation to secure the property rights of those who live on state land, state-owned land reform projects and former homelands. We want poor people to own their own property and not have their property controlled by Traditional Councils or by the state.
And we would buy well-priced arable land on the open market and allocate it transparently. We would target young, black aspirant or emerging farmers and provide both title deeds and appropriate support to enable productive farming, ensuring sustainable funding models. As we have done in the Western Cape, we would provide an on-going package of financial support, technical and managerial assistance as well as invest in supportive infrastructure.
Also as in the Western Cape, we would support farm ownership equity schemes whereby workers share in the ownership of existing, successful commercial farms enabling a progressive transfer of ownership and skills and providing access to markets – an approach which has been found to be far more successful than a wholesale transfer of land to people who may be ill-equipped to farm it successfully.
The DA’s combination of well-considered policy and effective, honest implementation will rapidly expand property ownership and wealth creation for black South Africans. And when they finally have title to their own land, they will be glad that the Constitution protects their right to own it.