30 July 2018 Photo Johan Roux
Politics of land reform discussed during inaugural Thought-Leader Series
From the left are: Mr Kgotso Morapela (EFF); Ms Annette Steyn (DA);Mr Mosiuoa Lekota (COPE); Mr Jeremy Cronin (ANC); and Mr Wouter Wessels,(FF+).

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On 26 July 2018, the University of the Free State (UFS) presented the fourth discussion on ‘The politics of land reform’ in its inaugural Thought-Leader Series on the Bloemfontein Campus, in a bid to contribute towards shaping national discourse through intellectual discussions around the land issue.
Panellists included Kgotso Morapela, Chairperson, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Free State; Annette Steyn, Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Democratic Alliance (DA); Mosiuoa Lekota, President and Leader, Congress of the People (COPE);  Wouter Wessels, Deputy Leader, Freedom Front Plus (FF+), Free State; and Jeremy Cronin, Deputy Minister of Public Works. The discussion was facilitated by Lynette Francis, presenter and producer of the daily news and actuality talk show Praat Saam on Radio Sonder Grense (RSG) and anchor for Fokus on SABC 2.

Different political perspectives

Morapela said that those with money will always win and the Constitution is not helpful, as it still advantages those with money. He said that all land must be state owned; even agricultural land must be state owned, and citizens would then need to apply to the state and justify for what purpose they want it. “The position of the EFF regarding the land question is clear. Section 25 of the Constitution needs to be amended and land must be expropriated without compensation,” he said.
Steyn said the DA believes that the land issue in the country needs to be addressed. The DA’s approach to the debate differed from other parties. “The question is whether the ANC can be trusted enough to take over the ownership of all the land in the country. Farmers will not invest in farms if they are not the owners; banks will also not provide them with loans,” she said.
According to Lekota, the Constitution is the answer to the question about land reform facing the country today. “Many others gave their lives and years to have the Constitution. I have no apology to make; I firmly support this Constitution. I have become unpopular on a daily basis for asserting that the Constitution is the only right and reliable foundation for building a future that we can all live in,” he said.
“If we want a successful country, we should learn from the past; learn from other countries and work with each other and focus on the future. The failure with land reform is not a constitutional matter, it lies with government,” said Wessels. According to him, South Africa can learn from history and from other countries. “Land reform is not easy, people may become poorer. If the wrong decision is made about land, the future of the country will be at stake,” he said.

According to Cronin, the realities of the past should not be denied. The debate should focus on land reform and not just on land expropriation without compensation. “The debate on land reform must be turned into an opportunity and we must not destruct each other. Not everyone wants to farm. Urbanisation is growing by the day. The major challenge is to transform urban areas in such a way that it will get rid of the apartheid developments based on race,” he said.
On 12 July 2018, the panel discussions in the UFS Though-Leader Series, which focused on land reform and human rights, organised labour, and food security, took place on the Bloemfontein Campus as part of the 2018 Vrystaat Arts Festival. 


Jeremy Cronin presentation
Kgotso Morapela presentation

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