Traditional leader asks Zuma for referendum on land expropriation

Prince supports call for pre-colonial audit and proposes a land audit commission

Traditional leader asks Zuma for referendum on land expropriation

30 March 2017

Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma must call a national referendum on land expropriation without compensation, the National House of Traditional Leaders heard on Thursday.

"The notion of expropriation without compensation follows the logic of dispossession without reparation," Prince Burns-Ncamashe said during a debate about Zuma's March 3 speech to the House, where the topic of land took centre stage.

Zuma was present on Thursday.

Burns-Ncamashe’s suggestion received the loudest applause of the day from all quarters of the House.

"It is a fact that the indigenous people were brutally dispossessed of their land by Dutch and British imperialists without reparation," he said.

"That is why we also support your call for the pre-colonial audit, and also propose a land audit commission that will focus on historical acquisition and state investment to all property owners in South Africa."

He was referring to Zuma's suggestion during his March 3 speech that an audit of pre-colonial land ownership be undertaken to better understand land claims.

Burns-Ncamashe said they could only address the issue "justly and fairly" after the audit was done.

"All those who acquired land through inappropriate means must voluntarily hand over their land to the state for redistribution," he said.

"We are still in a reconciliatory mood," he said to applause once again.

The issue needed to be resolved now so the country could avoid the kind of animosity experienced during apartheid.

Other leaders supported the idea, but stressed it had to be done legally, via a Constitutional amendment.

Kgoshi Dikgale said expropriation without compensation was the only way to go, but they would not use it for political gains.

He disagreed with those, intimating the EFF, calling for people to occupy land illegally.

"The Constitutional amendment must take place to address these challenges, and a chapter nine institution like a land commission must be set up."

He said those who staged illegal land grabs must face the might of the law. If land was transferred to people legally, no one would go hungry, as all types of foods would be produced.

Kgoshi Thobejane told Zuma very little had been done to restore the dignity of the Khoi, San, and Nama people. He said colonisers had brutalised them the most.

He questioned who had benefitted from mining.

"We cannot forever be the beneficiary of the dust of mining. We need to benefit from the real production."

As long as land was not accessible to traditional leaders, and had not been transferred back to the people, they would never achieve "all these things", he said.

He called on government to fast-track the transfer of the land to its original owners.

Zuma would respond to their statements later on Thursday.