Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
DURBAN – THE ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has proposed a novel approach to the land expropriation issue.

It has proposed a deal that would result in co-ownership of land to ensure no one feels “punished”, which Sihle Zikalala, the ANC’s KZN chairperson, described as a win-win solution.

KZN is home to the ANC’s largest supporter base and Zikalala is an ­influential member of the ruling party.

“We must not fear engaging on critical issues such as the land question. We must try and find a model that will help us to expropriate land and ensure the rightful ownership of land by the people without disrupting the economy.

“One of these possibilities might be co-ownership. Those who are claiming and those who own land should come together and work together,” he said.

Land would be expropriated, but the process would be handled in a way that all parties could jointly benefit.

“I think all of us welcome this as an alternative that must be explored. That’s why we are saying it’s not a dogmatic land grab or expropriation of land without compensation. It is something that will help grow the economy,” said Zikalala.

Like Zikalala, President Cyril Ramaphosa has emphasised that the debate and decision on land should be handled carefully so as to not disrupt the economy.

Dr Mandla Buthelezi, spokesperson for the National African Farmers Union, said it welcomed the move.

“My fear is that if people are given land, many would opt to sell it which will cripple the whole idea of expropriation of land,” he said.

He said sharing land would ensure that those who were given their land back did not misuse it.

Graham Armstrong, project manager at the Upper Midlands Agricultural Transformation Initiative (Umati), said they supported transformation: “We believe we have skills that we can transfer to the previously disadvantaged. We support transformation and a well-structured model that can assist the economy. There has to be transformation.”

SUNDAY TRIBUNE