THE Natives Land Act of 1913 has been generally accepted as the milestone and the final move to take the land away from the native inhabitants of South Africa.
What went on before, during the wars of conquest and “Frontier Wars” and the Glen Grey Act of 1894 was formally legitimised and made complete by the passing of this Act.
Many people today do not want to understand how we came to be where we are now. Twenty- three years after the fall of apartheid we are nowhere near resolving this issue.
Instead those who have been unfairly advantaged by the many lawful and unlawful actions of the past are advancing a narrative that the land now owned was legitimately acquired.
The “willing buyer and willing seller” policy of the ANC government since 1994 is an abominable rationalisation and legitimising of what was, to put it crudely, land theft on a massive scale.
History shows that subsequent laws legitimised this theft of the land.
It was never a free market system or superior skills that elevated a certain segment of society above the other when it came to land ownership. Many say that communities who had successful land restitution cases chose to get money instead of the land back.
Some who actually settled on these reclaimed farms ran them into the ground. The conclusion, therefore, is that an accelerated land redistribution would lead to a drop in food production.
The white farmers should be allowed to stay put as our food security depends on their expert hands. This is a naïve analysis. How do you expect generations of Africans who have been deliberately alienated from the land suddenly to become proficient in farming it?
How do you expect them to be successful if there is no adequate post settlement support from government? The Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies notes that “South African land reform beneficiaries have been victims of unworkable project designs, largely irrelevant to their livelihood possibilities, aspirations and abilities”. It is a fact that white farmers were generously helped by the government at the turn of the century and were able to establish themselves. They were also “lawfully” shielded from competition from African farmers and were supplied with cheap African labour. Do I suggest that the same should be done for black farmers? I will answer soon.