Righting Land Rights

Mr Sipho Pityana is right to rap the state’s knuckles for not using the Constitution’s ‘framework and power to redress the legacy of 1913’ [www.cosac.org]. If he were less polite he would have accused it of treachery, as I do…

For there is no insurmountable obstacle to the immediate transfer of a hectare of arable land to the five million landless and jobless and an equal number, surely, who are desperate to escape the hell-holes that go by the name of low cost housing and ram shackles.

A hectare of arable land is sufficient to live in modest luxury, growing all of one’s own organic food, hand-building a fine, three bed-roomed house out of the clays, rocks, timber and grasses of the earth and drawing on the housing subsidy.

This leaves time for cricket on Wednesdays, shooting on Saturdays, a party or two in between and hundreds of other income generating and leisure pursuits. Any able bodied, even illiterate, citizen can build a hectare into an unbonded vineyard and wine farm in three years.

They may need a mentor like Jake Jackson:
“Unable to farm in Zimbabwe, (Jackson) had transformed a desperately poor, war-torn part of
northern Mozambique into rich farmland by training more than forty thousand black
Mozambicans to grow tobacco and other crops for export.

“Peasants who had recently lived in mud huts, dependent on food hand-outs from the West,
were now building houses, driving four-by-fours and sending their children to school.”

Last Resort, A Memoir of Zimbabwe, by Douglas Roberts 2009.

The Constitution’s sec 25.5 could not be stricter about land access: “the state must take
reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to foster conditions
which enable citizens to gain access to land on an equitable basis”

21 June 2013 by Peter Meakin

photo credit: Casot Belle vue. via photopin (license)

land hut

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