Mashatile’s statement on land reform shows ignorance

Deputy President Paul Mashatile needs to clean up his own backyard on land reform before venting about it in the media. In 2018 the high-level panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change led by Kgalema Motlanthe pointed out corruption, nepotism and state capture in the land reform process. President Cyril Ramaphosa swept that report under the rug. The world will only take the ANC more seriously about land issues once they take out this report and updates it.

Mashatile hammers on “social justice” but is silent on the lack of justice in criminal and civil cases involving ANC high-ranking officials, which have languished in our courts for over a decade.

Every five years before an election, the ANC has much to say about land reform, but in between, they say nothing about the investigation into self-enrichment, cadre favouritism and corruption in cases such as that of David Mabuza and the MalaMala land claims transaction. Both these cases dealt a death blow to the integrity of land reform in Mpumalanga.

If Mashatile was at all interested in speeding up land reform, he would have confronted the relevant department with their failure to comply with a court order regarding the disclosure of a list of land claims. He would have supported Saai’s insistence on transparency in the processing of labour tenant claims and insisted on an explanation as to why beneficiaries of the redistribution program are increasingly being kicked off leased land to make way for well-connected cadres.

In Saai’s regular feedback to embassies on land reform we have irrefutably proved to them that land reform is not delayed by the Willing Seller principle but rather by a hopelessly incompetent and corrupt buyer. The Motlanthe report confirms this.

State enterprises, public health and many other state functions have collapsed not because of inherited or external factors but because of cadre deployment and associated corruption and incompetence. Similarly, the failure of land reform results from inefficient practices in the relevant department. If the deputy president wants to straighten out land reform, starting in the department will do him good.