The IFP demands more investigations, audits and vetting of government officials to expose all those who have looted the land reform and redistribution programme to enrich themselves.
This comes after a former state official entrusted with land claims and redistribution has been sent to prison for ten years for stealing a farm and livestock amounting to R5.3 million that had been awarded to a labour tenant family in Ladysmith.
According to evidence in court, this case is one of 28 similar cases that had occurred in KwaZulu-Natal, whereby land and other economic properties that could have been used to uplift the previously disadvantaged people, had ended up being looted by the corrupt and greedy state officials.
This case is highlighting the extent to which corrupt officials have easily been able to manipulate the land reform process in defrauding rightful beneficiaries. Many people have been waiting for decades in this province for government to transfer ownership of their stolen land back to them. They have waited for necessary support in line with land reform policy but that has not happened.
Many farms that have been looted have deteriorated to such an extent that they are no longer viable for farming purposes. Earlier this year the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner, Mr Mbili was quoted saying that the provincial Land Claims Commission has spent more than R7 billion on buying hectares of land for local claimants. But it is clear that even these exorbitant costs incurred by the state in rectifying the wrongs of the past might have been also looted. We demand a thorough vetting of everyone involved in this corruption.
It is clear that government’s new proposed policy of expropriation of land without compensation will further perpetuate this corruption. The ANC’s policies and procedures does not put the interests of the people first. It is a mere electioneering plot to emotionally blackmail our people. How will the change of Section 25 of the Constitution be ensured to streamline the interests of the people and not left to greedy ANC individuals who only seek to uplift themselves at the expense of the poor.
How will ANC ensure that land expropriation translates into economic opportunities for the poor when they have admitted that they have failed to get rid of corruption effectively since they took over the reins of government in 1994? They admitted that in spite of creating institutions such as Hawks and the Special Investigating Unit, there has been an increase in corruption cases.
The IFP demands that an urgent audit on this issue of repossessed land and farms to be conducted and be made public. All public servants and their political allies must be subjected to lifestyle audits. Thieves must face the full might of the law.
Mr Blessed Gwala MPL
IFP Leader in the KZN Legislature
078 290 5842