Land and Agrarian Revolution

“For a colonized people the most essential value, because it’s the most concrete, is first and foremost the land: the land which will bring them bread and, above all, dignity”-

Frantz Fanon


Land Expropriation without Compensation is the first amongst the seven non-negotiable cardinal pillars of our movement. This is so because the first principle towards total liberation and genuine independence is defined principally by territorial control. Literally, everything starts and ends on the soil.  Colonialism, apartheid and white supremacy are sustained by land dispossession of the Africans and black in general. The nexus of oppression, that characterize South Africa, which is racism, class and gender are shaped by the land question. Our movement is founded principally to redress these historical injustices that continue to shape South Africa twenty years after democracy. Since, these injustices are founded on land dispossession, it therefore follows that any resolution of the historical dispossession and recreation of a new society with new values of true equality for all has to be driven by land redistribution. The Economic Freedom Fighters(EFF) have resolved to fight for land return as part of its generational mission as articulated in the founding manifesto of the party.

Several challenges face our movement towards realizing the task of land redistribution as a key determinant in achieving the goal of Economic Freedom in our life time. These basic questions are inter alia: How shall the land be redistributed? How shall land be owned and by whom (the land tenure regime)? What shall we do with the land once it has been reclaimed? Furthermore, the paper shall deal with the concerned that rests in the question; how shall our movement circumvent the real danger of imperialist sabotage? Is such an attack inevitable? What is the position of our movement between now and when EFF takes power? This paper seeks to provide an overall frame work of understanding the land and agrarian questions as key questions of a thorough-going revolutionary project informed by the ideologue frame work of our movement which is the Marxist-Leninst-Fanonian perspective and outlook.

1)             The Creation of Modern Racist South Africa

There is no understanding the South Africa of today without understanding the history of land dispossession. There is no facet of SA society which is not implicated in the land question. The fact that we have two societies[1] in one is direct outcomes of land theft. The fact that we have been forced to adopt Europeans religion, cuisine, languages and identify is direct outcomes of the land question[2]. Pre 1994 South Africa has been variously described as a settler colonial, colonialism of a special type and racial capitalist amongst others descriptions. All these descriptions in varying degree recognize the reality of modern South Africa as created principally by land dispossession. The creation of modern South Africa has to be located in 1652 with the arrival of white settlers in the cape shores. Jan van Riebeeck remains the symbolic father of settlerdom[3].

Modern South Africa is created out triple dispossessions[4]. The primary dispossession is land dispossession which logically led to the two other dispossessions which is dispossession of African labour and finally and perhaps more devastatingly the dispossession of the African way of being. These triads of dispossessions are made possession by the original organizing logic of slavery which has reduced the African into a mere “thing amongst things” as Fanon avers. The capturing of African as slaves and placed on the auction block with animals and also put on the plantation next to the oxen and whipped to create wealth and security for the white master had opened Africa for abuse and theft of not just the land but her people too. Land dispossession and attendant dispossessions correctly then are part of the second coming, which is colonialism of various types. The first transgression that links all black people in the world is slavery. The reality of being captured was true for each and every African, therefore slavery affected even those who were not captured. What is key here is to recognize that the transgression against the black body provided lisence for the land related transgression by the West. Its almost impossible to imagine colonialism without slavery.

Its important to note that land dispossession was effected to power white supremacy and the relative racist industrialization of South Africa. The discovery of gold and diamond in the mid nineteenth century intensified the dispossession of African land and labour. The proleretarianisation of the African was primarily to feed the labour needs of the new industries based on both diamonds and gold. Ironically, these discoveries also led to deepening of land dispossession to force African off the land to provide labour on farms and mines. Cecil John Rhodes was very honest about this process, he said “it must be brought to Africans that they will spend one tenth of their time providing labour”. The hut tax that led to Bambatha to rebel in 1906 was essentially a scheme to force Africans into labour. The tax was to be paid in the coloniser’s currency. This means if one was not in the employment of whites then they had no means to pay the tax. The refusal to pay the colonial tax by Bambatha was essentially a refusal to surrender more of his people to the slavery of labour and also to the reality of landless.

The assault on the African sense of being is graphically described by Fanon as “… colonialism is not satisfied merely by holding a people in its grip and emptying the native’s brains of all form and content… it[colonialism] turns to the past of the oppressed people and distorts, disfigures, and destroys it.” Once this process of mutilation of the African spirit and soul was complete, African identity laid fundamentally injured and traumatized. Shame and sense of inferiority generally defined what it means to be an African. The great civilizations of Timbaktu and Kemetic discoveries lay shattered in the face of western destructive forces. The pyramids as testimony of superiority of life defined by the unison of science and the development of the spirit were equally defiled and stripped of its place in the in the Pantheon of world civilization.  Once, the African was enslaved and colonized, all her achievement was disappeared under the lies of white supremacy. As Aime Cesaire ironically said referring to us blacks, “those who discovered nothing!”. To conceal the great sin committed against the African a massive machine of lies by erasure was invented by the West. The African, was then placed outside of history and humanity and blackened. White was life as black was death. The self-imagine of the Africa, was destroyed. The west impose itself by the sword and the gun. In essence land dispossession led to cultural dispossession too, therefore, ipso facto, the demand for land is the demand for cultural liberation of our people.

The outcomes of these inter linked dispossessions present themselves graphically today as the life of blacks in poverty and squalor on the one hand and the life of whites as charecterised by privilege and security on the other: township and suburbs! Employer and employee, baas and boy, miesies and maid, Sandton and Alexander, metro rail and Gautrain, private hospital and public hospital, mansion and RDP house. When we close our eyes and imagine these categories and the races that occupy them we can see, that the black has been forced into both a material and spiritual wasteland. Therefore, the call for land return, is essentially a call for redress of all dispossessions that have visited upon the African.  Land return is essentially for the reparation of the haunted African soul and to create new social relations away from the current ones which are essentially racist and anti-black. Without land, there is no redressing the 350 years of dispossession and disfigurement of black life.

So the battle for a different South Africa was always depended on how best to deal with the land question. The first battle happened as soon as they colonialist arrived in the cape. It went on since 1652 to basically 1906 with the defeat of Bambatha. By 1913 the African was already disposed being. The infamous 1913 Land Act, was not the point of dispossession but a point of confirmation in law what has been achieved through superior arms in the battle field by the settler colonialist. The 1913 Land Act is therefore a mere codification into law of the fact of dispossession.

The formation of the African National Congress in 1912, was part of the resistance to colonial occupation that never realy ended but only fluctuating with time and opportunity. It can be argued that the culmination of the resistance against the internal occupying force was the assumption of the armed struggle by the people’s army such as Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) and the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (Apla). Whilest these armies mounted a brave battle against the settler regime they did not march to Pretoria victoriously. This reality is significant in understanding why after twenty years of democracy there has been no land redistribution.

2)             The Great Compromise

It is common knowledge that the post 1994 democratic settlement was the outcomes of a negotiated settlement. Whilst the balance of forces at the time suggests that there was stalemate, whereby the warring factions were forced to sit down and negotiate since none could claim victory and impose their will over the other.  For the liberation forces this meant the much anticipated march to Pretoria by the victorious people’s movements was never to be, instead the matter was settled by negotiations. Negotiations are a matter of give and take. What did the oppressed have to give at the negotiations table? And on the other hand what did the oppressor offer? An analysis of the balance sheet from the negotiations table shows that ultimately the oppressed exchange their birth right to land for political power.  This political power, ironically, was rendered impotent as long as the representatives of the oppressed were willing to maintain their side of the bargain even long after its strategic utility had been achieved. If in 1994, such a compromise was necessary for the black majority to attain political power, then it was a  wise move, however, once the conditions that necessitated the compromise were obliterated by the fact of the consolidation of the control of the former liberation movement on the levers of state power and the instrument of legitimate use of violence (police, army, secret services etc) and on the other the continued support of the overwhelming majority of our people on the other, then maintain the compromise meant simple a sell-out position and self-enslavement driven by cowardice and fear. This the elevates a tactical retreat into a strategic defeat and making virtue of out of refusal to use political power to complete the programme of decolonization[5].

Such a criminal refusal to use power to continue the logic of liberation war simple means the ruling party transformed itself into the body guards of white supremacy. Post 1994, then became a normal neo-colony where those who fought the white settlers during the colonial/apartheid period had after assuming power continued with the same colonial/apartheid administration, which was established to privileged a settler white minority through violence and super exploitation of the black majority. Dr Chinweizu, coined the concept of “black colonialists” for the black rulers who took power and continued the same system they fought against.

The essential characteristic of this black colonialists or the comprador is the insertion of their economies into the global economic system of oppression to continue the same colonial relations of exporting raw materials to the “mother” country whilst importing finished goods and thereby sustain a colonial economy. The other arm of this system is maintaining the colonial relations of production by a mixture of violence and consent, but increasingly by violence more so when the native population forced into wage slavery demands part of the national wealth through a fair share in the profits through modest demands for a living wage or land. Under such conditions, the electoral process is used to legitimize the continued colonial relations. The refusal to end colonialism and apartheid is justified by the mantra that “the people voted for us”. Generally, such elections do not represent the will of the people because they are based on lies and the people have not completely yet arrive at a new radical political consciousness.

To return to the negotiation table. The oppressed through their representatives (unelected at the time), offered land and the economy to the apartheid regime in exchange for political office. This agreement found expression in section 25 of the Constitution of South Africa. The section is drafted in a contradictory manner, reflecting the indetermined balance of forces at the time.

3)             The Property Clause

In this section we discuss the specificity of the property clause or section 25 of the Constitution. As indicated about its this clause which gives expression to the great 1994 political compromise. The full section is laid out below followed by a discussion on the key perspectives on the clause.

The Section 25(Property Clause) is Drafted Thus:

  1. No one may be deprived of property except in terms of law of general application, and no law may permit arbitrary deprivation of property.
  1. Property may be expropriated only in terms of law of general application
  1. a) For a public purpose or in the public interest; and
  2. b) Subject to compensation, the amount of which and the time and manner of payment of which have either been agreed to by those affected or decided or approved by a court.
  1. The amount of the compensation and the time and manner of payment must be just and equitable, reflecting an equitable balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected, having regard to all relevant circumstances, including
  1. a) The current use of the property;
  2. b) The history of the acquisition and use of the property;
  3. c) The market value of the property;
  4. d) The extent of direct state investment and subsidy in the acquisition and beneficial capital improvement of the property; and
  5. e) The purpose of the expropriation.
  1. For the purposes of this section
  1. a) The public interest includes the nation’s commitment to land reform, and to reforms to bring about equitable access to all South Africa’s natural resources; and
  2. b) Property is not limited to land.
  1. 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.
  1. A person or community whose tenure of land is legally insecure as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices is entitled, to the extent provided by an Act of Parliament, either to tenure which is legally secure or to comparable redress.
  1. A person or community dispossessed of property after 19 June 1913 as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices is entitled, to the extent provided by an Act of Parliament, either to restitution of that property or to equitable redress.
  1. No provision of this section may impede the state from taking legislative and other measures to achieve land, water and related reform, in order to redress the results of past racial discrimination, provided that any departure from the provisions of this section is in accordance with the provisions of section 36 (1).
  1. Parliament must enact the legislation referred to in subsection (6).

The section dealing is one of the longest and most debated sections of the constitution. The debate turns on two primary questions, does the constitution as currently framed and amended allow for land expropriation or on the other hand, even if there is nothing that explicitly states that the South African land reform process envisaged by this section can only be meet constitutional muster if it’s based on the “willing buyer willing seller” principle which is essentially a principle that offends the demand for justice by those who have been historically dispossessed.

These debates on section 25 or the property clause, become technicist and excessively legalistic and and claims to be apolitical and thereby deeply ideological however masquerading as mere points of law. The fact that the ruling party has not tested these provisions by legislating for expropriation of land further leave the question open. EFF demands places land return outside the strictures of laws that would offend the return of land without compensation. This exceeds the debate on section 25, which has thus far pivoted on the quantum of compensation to be paid where expropriation was to be considered and not on whether compensation must not be considered at all. It’s important to emphasize this point, that the principal position of the EFF is Land Expropriation without Compensation.

The liberal constitutionalist view argues that, there is nothing in the SA constitution that prevents land redistribution and even expropriation but with “just and equitable” compensation”. It’s important to note that the liberal constitutionalists, take for granted that compensation shall be paid for land.  Such compensation would as parts of section 25 indicates not be determined strictly by market value but other considerations too, read cumulatively and contextually. This debate at the face of it seems reasonable because it argues that the right to land redistribution is protected in as much as the right to property is protected by the constitution. The million dollar question is where would a court of law likely to throw its weight in determining “just and equitable” compensation. How would the quantum of what is “just and equitable” be determined in a society governed by capitalist logic and jurisprudence?

The retort from the radical political economist has been that law favors the holders of power and property and therefore any interpretation of “just and equitable” compensation left to the courts of law shall come to the same thing as market value and “willing buyer willing seller”, at best it becomes forced sales for land redistribution. These political economists such as Lungisile Ntsebeza, Ricado Jacobs, Gillingwe Mayende[6] and Sam Moyo, also posit the question, why should land as a political question be settled by courts of law not popular will? This group of thinkers with varying degrees challenge the foundational assumptions of the Constitution which is based on treating both the settler and the native as if they have equal birth right to land. The underlying assessment is that such treatment of the matter is unethical, becuase land belongs to the natives!

These radical economists and Africana philosophers such as Ramose and Mabogo More have highlighted the difficulty related to the supremacy of the constitution versus the supremacy of the Legislature. Constitutional supremacy is protected by section one of the constitution which seeks 75% votes for alteration. Any law that offends the constitution would accordingly be struck down. These thinkers supported by some progressive judges[7] insist that the first question to ask is, who drafted the constitution and in whose interests? This question invites the questioning of the very Kempton Park agreement and insist that only a properly constituted Constituent Assembly can determine the matter. Incidentally, the actual drafters of the constitutions remain by and large a well-kept secret. The race, class and gender identity of such drafters would assist greatly in the deconstruction of the provisions of the supreme law of the land.

The Liberal Constitutionalists presents an ahistorical argument that assumes equality of things. Incidentally this view is the dominant view that calibrates the policy positions of the ruling party and official opposition. This argument sees nothing wrong with paying compensation so long as its “just and equitable”. What this means no one yet knows. But if we look at how the South African Constitutional Court settled the claims of the white Zimbabwean farmers who lost land due to the land redistribution programme in Zimbabwe then there is little to take solace from the courts. The Constitutional Court ruled in favour of the white farmers in 2013. Judge president Mogoeng Mogoeng delivered the judgment and insisted that all governments in the SADC region are bound by the SADC Tribunal’s provision which protects property. This he concluded meant, compensation has to be paid whenever there is land expropriation. The decision meant property belonging to the Zimbabwean government in South Africa could be auctioned to pay the white farmers.

These developments seem to vindicate the position assumed by radical political economist, African philosophers and majority of landless people, that the land question left to the courts shall be settled in the interest of properly holders. Also a legalistic route is subject to never ending expensive processes with unpredictable out comes. These concerns gestures towards precisely the native idiom and logic on the land question. This idiom is informed by a basic idea that those who were dispossessed seek justice. For the black majority land was stolen and therefore it must be returned without paying a cent. Paying any compensation for land or rather buying back our land offends the sense of justice and promotes illegality. From this perspective land expropriation without compensation is the most just and desired outcomes. Accordingly, the laws of the country must conform to this popular and just logic. This is the logic that propelled all the warriors for land and decolonization throughout the African continent. It’s the same logic that drove the first political prisoner on Robben Island Achimao (Harry die Strandlooper) to ask Jan van Riebeeck the question: “between the indigenous people and the white settler who has the right over land?” this is the fundamental question which can only be answered effectively by decolonization that is primarily the return of land to restore black dignity.

4)             SA 20 Years of Bad Policy on Land

South Africa is in total a country of 123 million hectares.  80% of this land is designated Agricultural land. After the long wars of land dispossession culminating in the 1913 Land Act, which legalized the land theft of African by giving whites 87% and Africans forced to only 13% of the land.  In reality, today, less than 1% of the population own more than 80% of the land. In concrete terms only 40 000 white families own 80% of South African land. We are a nation of 53 million people! It is known that about 22 million Africans need land desperately. Furthermore, we know that about a 700 000 people are farm workers (including their families it comes to about 7 million people who live on farms as landless workers).

After 20 years of democracy only about 8% of the land has been bought back from those who stolen if from Africans. This is the fruits of the land policy of the ANC which is based on the Kempton Park compromise, from which springs the policy of willing buyer willing seller. The 8% of land bought to date has been bought by an obscene amount of about R50 billion since 1994.  Essentially South Africa has no land redistribution programme, the ruling party is paralysed by fear of white people on the one hand and on the other uncessarily upholds the 1994 compromise. If we follow the current pace of land rdistribution it would take almost 100 years to buy back only 30% of the land.

The current session of parliament has inherited about 15 Bills which shall come before parliament. All of these Bills are drafted to avoid and to pre-empt the proposals of the EFF for radical land redistribution through expropriation without compensation. The EFF must continue to expose the emptiness and deceptiveness of these Bills and reject them all. The most pernicious and dangerous policy proposal is one called the 50% equate for farm workers[8]. This policy will only assist white farmers to evict farm workers and ensure the completion of the land dispossession process.

5)             Racist Agrarian Structure

Land dispossession helped to create a racist society with skewed land ownership between blacks and whites on the one hand, on the other created a racist agrarian structure which is socially discriminatory, economically exploitative and environmentally harmful. Essentially, the South African agrarian sector is sustained by racist feudalism, where black farm workers are mere slaves and the white farmers lords. Food production is driven by the profit motive. The consequence is that the farm owning class makes massive profits from cheap labour, export markets and sales of food to the section of society which can afford. The result is food insecurity for the majority on the one hand, and harmful environmental activities on the other hand. The profit motive that drives the agrarian sector in SA leads to poisoning the soil and people with Genetically Modified Organisism (GMOs). The economic logic of the racist agrarian structure is slush and burn without investment. Consequently,  those who work on farms are trapped in abject poverty and lack of benefits from industrialization and economic development, whilst the white farmer has access to all these benefits. Literally, in one farm we find the advanced technological secured life of the industrialized West and at the same time enclaves of rurality and third world squalor.

The agrarian sector is further divided between white commercial agriculture(racist feudalism) and the former banstustans (local despotism). The commercial  farming sector has all the modern benefits of technology, state assistance, access to finances and markets. The former banstustan sector is trapped in rurality, neglect  and poverty. Incidentally, within the white commercial sector the conditions of farm workers are akin to those of the rural people in former homelands.

Its not just land ownership which is concentrated unjustly, but also the Agricultural sector is dominated by a few monopolies which produce most of the food that gets into the  markets.  The result of this is that there is no food security for majority, at least 42% of Africans are designated relatively poor and without food security and only 1% of whites suffer the same fate. Black Shash tells us that up to 22% Africans are desperately poor in SA and not sure where the next meal will come from, but these Agriculture monopolies are making shocking profits and even produce for the European markets when people are starving here in SA. The logic of the current Agricultural sector puts profits before people and that must change.

The South African agricultural sector is not only racist and lopsided but also its inefficient and wasteful. The sector contributes less 5% to the GDP. It employs about 700 000 poorly treated and super exploited farm workers. This alone makes the sector a perfect candidate for expropriation. The sector could answer most employment needs by hiring millions of small scale producers, millions of well paid farm workers, reduce food inflation and move our people from the humiliation of food insecurity that has lead to the belief that the offal is “African Food”, now our people eat chicken feet. The question is who eats the steak and chicken? Our people should not be condemned to “Mala-Mogodu” out of economic compulsion, but out of culinary choice based on democratic access to diverse foods in our land.

6)             Farm Workers

The situation of farm workers deserves special mention because they are the people who feed the nation but are the mostly oppressed and exploited on our farms. Every morning when you go to the fridge to get milk you must spare a thought for those who made sure you can have breakfast, these people who themselves are under fed and badly paid and treated. This are the people the ANC and DA have agreed should be paid R105 a day! We know most don’t even get this amount.

We must never forget this: these farm workers are descendent of people who owned the land they are today forced to work for next to nothing! Most of the current farm workers have histories on the land that it’s much longer that most owners. In other words the land belong to the people now working as servants of the white farmers!

Farm workers, are everyday abused on farms, they get killed with no justice (remember the Lion Case? It’s not the only one). Farm workers are denied burial rights (landless in life and in death), they are everyday evicted from land. EFF will prioritise these landless farmers who already doing most of the farming without recognition of proper compensation for their efforts. Farm workers are slaves, we must end slavery on farms by fairer redistribution of land.

A new agrarian revolution must accompany any reform of the land sector. The relations of production of farms must move away from the current racist feudalism charactered by exploitation of people and the environment to a new relations based on putting people before profits and protection of the environment whilst ensuring food security and sovereignty for all. In other words, farm workers must be freed from the ongoing slavery on farms. Furthermore, such a new agrarian structure must end the divide between country and town. The former homelands, must be governed by a democratic system that undermines feudal relations and free people from local despotism and liberate women from patriarchal relations. All these changes must be driven by a democratic land tenure system[9].

Farm workers must receive their own land to carve their own autonomous lives not bound to the employment. Secondly, farm workers must receive a minimum wage of no less R5000 a month to break the racist relations of production on farms.

7)             Land Expropriation without Compensation!

The first and fundamental process towards decolonizing South African land ownership is the return of land through the principle of land expropriation without compensation. The land belongs to the people as a whole and must be returned to the people as such. This principle goes beyond the limitations of the “willing buyer-Willing seller” and also resolves the colonial idiom over land ownership and control once and for all. Any resolution of the land question that doesn’t not conform to this logic is bound to prolong colonial relations and white supremacist nature of South African society. There are not progressive or convincing arguments against land expropriation without compensation in colonial societies such as South Africa.

8)             How will Land Expropriation be realized?

There are about three forms of land redistribution. First is the overthrow of the landed gentry in a revolutionary process driven by demand for land, such as in Russia in 1917, the Chinese revolution in 1957, the Cuban Revolution in 1959,  the Zanzibar revolution of 1962, the Mozambiqean revolution of 1975, these are some of the well-known revolutionary processes that leads to immediate agrarian revolution. Amongst the first and most impressive and clear decrees issued by Lenin in Russian immediately after the revolution was the Land Decree which ended the brutal feudal system in Russian. It’s worth reproducing parts of the 1917 decree,

  1. a) “Landed proprietorship is abolished forthwith without any compensation.
  1. b) The landed estates, as also all crown, monastery, and church lands, with all their livestock, implements, buildings and everything pertaining thereto, shall be placed at the disposal of the land committees and the Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies pending the convocation of the Constituent Assembly.
  1. c) All damage to confiscated property, which henceforth belongs to the whole people, is proclaimed a grave crime to be punished by the revolutionary courts. The Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies shall take all necessary measures to assure the observance of the strictest order during the confiscation of the landed estates, to determine the size of estates, and the particular estates subject to confiscation, to draw up exact inventories of all property confiscated and to protect in the strictest revolutionary way all agricultural enterprises transferred to the people, with all buildings, implements, livestock, stocks of produce, etc.”[10]
  1. a) This declaration is great guide to the kind of decrees necessary to march society from one epoch to the next. It also shows the revolutionary clear mindedness of the Bolsheviks and determination to end feudalism to usher into a new society. Furthermore, the decree is aware of the imperial and class enemies plans to sabotage any agrarian revolution. Measures to deal with all these challenges at the same time are fundamental to a successful land and agrarian revolution.
  1. b) Land expropriation during a revolution or revolutionary scenario is the most effective means to address the land question. But states can after a revolution also undertake revolutionary land programmes, or even democratic means to so. The Zimbabwean revolution was based on the demand for land. It escalated into an armed conflict for decolonisation and ended with the Lancaster House compromise not different from the Kempton Park settlement. The significant provision of the Lancaster Agreement was that for the first ten years 1980 to 1990, the revolutionary government was bound to a ‘willing buyer- willing seller” arrangement with both Britain and the USA promising to pay for all land bought from the white settler minority which was defeated in the Chimurenga.
  1. c) Needless to say by the end of the decade both Britain and the USA had reneged on their part to the agreement. For the next decade land reform had stalled. It was only in the beginning of the 2000s with the crisis created by the World Bank’s Structural Adjustment Programmes, that the war veterans demanded land be returned without compensation.  Within a difficult two years period land was redistributed to more than 275 000 black families, benefitting millions,  and on the other hand resolving the colonial structure of the economy whereby between 4000 and 6000 white farmers owned 80% of the Zimbabwean land. The reaction of the imperial world was swift, with economic sabotage of Zimbabwe[11].
  1. d) Two key lessons from Zimbabwe is that first, expropriation of land cannot happen outside the total control of the economy and ensuring food production continues. Secondly and mostly importantly it is important to ensure that political connectivity does not subvert an equitable redistribution of land. The land reform and redistribution model must be explicitly biased towards the ordinary people and politicians as far possible not be in the front of the queue preferable be served last.
  1. e) The Venezuelan example is another lesson in how state led land redistribution of land within a democratic system is possible. The Venezuelan example has inspired many Latin American countries to buck the neo-liberal hegemony and to for the expropriation of land and other minerals. The same processes have been undertaken in Bolivia and Ecuador amongst others. The Venezuelan model is derived from a radical state, supported by a highly radical and conscious people. The mains means of legalising land redistribution is the law.  The revolutionary and exemplary leadership of Hugo Chavez ensured popular support for the radical measures which benefited people and ended the power of the landed gentry.
  1. f) The third important measures for land redistribution is the reclamation of land by people in unfavorable conditions such as during a guerilla war, through the creation of “liberated territory”. Here the state is hostile to the revolutionary demands of the people for land, then the people through their own revolutionary action and often guided by their vanguard movement but also spontaneously reclaim land at great cost to themselves. Often such a process is raven with state terror and mass slaughtering of peasants and the poor not unlike the Marikana Massacre. People’s land redistribution within hostile environment is often part of building resistance towards a revolutionary process to overthrow the existing order. Today, the most significant movement has been the Landless Workers Movement in Brazil otherwise known as the MST. This movement through its own struggles has liberated massive amounts of land and established some of the most productive farming processes even recognised by the United Nations. But the struggle is not easy, despite the constitution of Brazil legalizing land occupations on unused land. Often members of MST are murdered and arrested.
  1. g) We have alluded to three main means of land reclamation above, firstly during a revolution, secondly, by a progressive state siding with the landless and lastly, through people’s own activity during a hostile time as part of building an environment for revolutionary change. It is important to therefore, locate where the South African situation is to determine what cause of action is most productive and lead to the balance of forces on the side of the poor, landless and popular majority whose liberation and livelihoods depends on successful land redistribution. The land and agrarian strategy elaborated has to be based on a firm grasp of the political context of today and how progressively this must be changed through a combination of interventions.

9)             Accessing Land in SA Today

There are two broad realities under which land be accessed. First, is under conditions where EFF is not in power. The second is when EFF is in power or under revolutionary conditions. Each reality demands a different tactical and political process. Below we discuss what EFF should do to increase the possibility of revolutionary government and land redistribution through a series of interventions, including how to use parliament to strengthen the development of mass revolutionary movement outside parliament. The strategy is to strangulate the forces of reaction with a double dialectical move at once whose rhythm resonated with outside-inside motion.

9.1)      Parliament

9.1.1)    Substantive Motions

As a Leninst Party, the EFF shall agitate at multiple levels for land redistribution programme. First, access to parliament shall be used to move substantive motions for “Expropriation of Land without compensations” at every opportunity. A debate on this motion in the national assembly shall be agitated for. The arguments for land exproriation without compensation remains a superior logic within the reality of white racism of the South Africa society. Such a motion shall educate the masses of our and also expose the reactionary nature of the parliamentary parties and reveal more the revolutionary character of our party to the suffering majority of our people.  Within this tactical move, the argument whether the South African Constitution allows for expropriation without compensation shall be clarified more.

9.1.2)    Amend Section 25

EFF shall agitate for the total amendment of section 25 of the constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation and has offered its 6.2% towards realizing a two thirds majority to make the amendment possible. This offer is a revolutionary gesture that insists on the resolution of the land question as part of a national agenda beyond partisan party process. But it’s also an offer that makes all parties that refuse it exposed for their neo-apartheid nature and servants of the white landed classes and preservers of the anti-black status qou. It shall become clear to our people that only EFF with a two thirds majority can realise land redistribution, because of its revolutionary character. The question has to be asked, why is the ruling party rejecting the call for amending section 25?

9.1.3)    Referendum!

Should the motion for land and expropriation be defeated in the National Assembly (NA), EFF must call for a referendum on whether our people agree to buy back the stolen land. This is so because, the NA is constituted by only 400 people and the land question were never put on a plebiscite.  The question to vote for is a simple yes! or no! on “Should South Africa buy back land from white land owners”?  This motion would also ignite national debate and education and also develop radical consciousness. Should the NA refuse the referendum call, then EFF must undertake such a process with civil society and church and launch the, “1 million say YES to land redistribution!” Campaign.  After the campaign has secured the 1 million votes, EFF should be undertaken and mass action to force the National Assembly to undertake a referendum and test the popular will on the question. EFF must return power to the people and insist on the democratic participation of our people on the resolution of the land question. Land is too important to be left to only 400 people!

9.1.4)    National Land Conference

To fortify national consciousness and to win over allies to the EFF position on land, it is proposed that a land conference be held in 2015 June. This conference to include all the landless formations, churches, land civil society, researchers an expers. The conference shall take stock of the land reform programmne in South Africa and test some of the proposals of the EFF with a broad range of society players. Such a conference shall have an international lessons component form societies which has carried land redistribution. It is strong suggested that a fact finding mission to Zimbabwe be carried out as part of the preparations for the conference.

9.1.5)    Support Land Demand in Cape Town

Also EFF shall support the spontaneous land occupation movement and seek to guide it. In the specific case of the Western Cape and Cape Town in particular, EFF has to undertake campaigns inside parliament to insist that a permanent solution is found the annual shack fires and floods which often put people in the most distressing conditions for weeks and often leads to deaths by shack fires and floods. These annual tragic events are preventable and an indication of the urban land question. Parliament is in Cape Town and these developments also happen in Cape Town. EFF must undertake massive campaigns for parliament to respond to this predictable and unacceptable reality for the poor of Cape Town.

9.1.6)    Lessons from Philippines

The limitations of using progressive laws outside the existence of a progressive movement is what is happening right now in the Philippines. In 2009 the Pilipino government inacted a radical land redistribution law, which amongst others prescribed that land can be redistributed without or little compensation from large scale land owners to the land hungry. The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms, or CARPER, was praised by all progressive people and celebrated by landless peasants. But five years since its promulgation, the peasants and landless have not benefited from this progressive land law. The main reason as articulated by professor Walden Bello is that the government or bureaucracy that was meant to carry out the land policy was reactionary and therefore subverted the policy at implementation level. It is therefore, important that any land redistribution law is supported and driven by a mass movement and doesn’t not take away the power of the people but supports it.  The Philippine example shows that it’s possible to have progressive laws but reactionary bureaucracies and therefore undermine the very progressive laws.  All means must be undertaken not to surrender land redistribution to professionals within the state system. The state must support and protect the people who must play a central role in the agrarian revolution.

10)          Mass Action Outside Parliament

Following these processes described above, EFF must consider a return to land campaign.  2017 must be declared the year of land return! This campaign, following the exhaustion of the parliamentary process, the education of our people, and mobilizing towards the 1 million yes campaign, must engage all the landless people of the country to undertake land return to the people. Many communities have laid claim since 1994, and the re-opening of the Restitution process shall attract even more landless people who shall not see any land in their lifetimes under the current land reform regime. Add to this number the urban landless and farm workers. This land return campaign, recognises that South African under the ruling party is hostile to land redistribution and therefore building mass power to reclaim land outside the state process is the only realistic option open to the people.  However, to arrive at this conclusion, EFF needs mass support and understanding, hence all the parliamentary processes must be understood as part of building a radical consciousness and people’s power from the base.

During this period, EFF as the vanguard of protest movement shall support all spontaneous action for land both rural and urban. Furthermore EFF shall also support all people’s action against evictions from land and housing because all these questions are linked back to the original land question. These spontaneous actions would be imbued with long term revolutionary capacity and further calibrated to expose the true nature of the bourgeoisie democratic order that put stolen property above the interest of the masses.

11)          How Shall Land be Owned and by whom (The Land Tenure Regime)?

EFF is committed to land for all the people of the country on an equitable basis. All those who need land shall be given land at no cost to themselves. The state shall remain the custodian of all the land in the country. Land access shall be done by a simple application, as simple as an application for a grant. Any citizen shall state the purpose for which the land is being applied for and the state shall provide such an applicant with the land within the set limits and land uses permitted for such land in the area in question.

Each citizen above the age of 18 shallow be allowed use of land for 25 years on a renewable licensing system. The state shall not arbitrarily refuse re-licensing to land owners.  Licenses can only be revoked if the land use to which the land user was granted has not been realized. The state shall also allow reasonable alterations of the land use agreement. There shall be democratic land use committee within each district with gender parity representation. These committees shall assist the state in management and monitoring of land uses including awarding of land use licenses. There shall be land tribunals at provincial level to deal with land disputes that are not resolvable at local and district level. A national land arbitration council shall be the instant of final appeal.

12)          State Shall be the Sole Owners of All Land

The state shall be sole land owner in the country, holding such land in trust for the people as a whole. Land shall stop to be a commodity, in other words, no land shall be sold and bought. Land shall be accessed without paying a cent to all those who need it both black and white. All shall apply to the state for land use licenses. Foreigners shall be allocated land for use only not land shall be sold.

13)          Bond Repayment to be reduced to 10 Years!

The price land which is part of current value of mortgages shall be immediately subtracted from the bond value. This would reduce the current exorbitant bond prices and contribute to the policy of reducing bond repayment to less than ten years as proposed by the EFF.

14)          Which Land shall be except from Expropriation?

Land Expropriation doesn’t not apply to residential areas or the housing stock. The EFF government shall not expropriate houses of individuals or residential land. A set size for residential property shall be set and multiple ownership of land not permitted but leasing on a 99 year period for such housing shall be permitted.

15)          Democratization of Land Tenure in Former Homelands and Land Under Chiefs

Land that is currently managed or held in trust under the traditional leadership shall also be subjected to the same rule as private agricultural and industrial land. In other words, land currently administered by chiefs shall revert to the state and all citizens shall apply for land use.  Apply for land use licenses include land for cultural, traditional and spiritual uses. Land shall be managed by democratically elected committees with 100% gender representation. It must be emphasized that the EFF land redistribution policy is not about dispossessing our people but addressing land dispossession, therefore, the net effect of these interventions shall lead to more land than land dispossession.

16)          National Question

The land question is directly linked to the national question (NQ), which is about overcoming the colonial tribal divisions, apartheid artificial identities and end to white supremacy. The resolution of the NQ is basically about creating new society based on values of equality and democracy for all. To this extent any recreation of tribal enclaves and consciousness that threatens to undermine the development of national consciousness must be rejected. The reopening of the land restitution claims must be seen within the context of the ruling party’s attempt to bribe the kings and chiefs to deliver the rural vote. To attain this the ruling party has gone into a reckless revival of tribal identities, with the real consequence of tribal warfare based on overlapping claims and land being given or rather the promise of land access through tribal affiliation instead of need and citizenship. The re-opening of the Restitution of Land Rights or the claims process must be rejected as a dangerous return to the Bantustan divisions to maintain “local despotism” and subjecting large sections of our to the status of subjects instead of citizens[12]. This is done for the same logic as apartheid did, to divide and rule. The urban voters are increasingly shedding the illusion that ANC is a liberation movement and voting for radical transformation. The ruling party seeks to bulkanise the country to ensure electoral support through taking care of the chiefs and kings and subverting democracy and building a new nation. Land must never be accessed on the basis of tribal affiliation. The land and all its wealth belong to the people as a whole not to tribal enclaves.

The role of traditional leadership is not to administer land but to oversee the cultural life of the people and to assist in developing our cultures further to strengthen the African revolutionary spirit and revival of the black self to attain total mental and physical liberation.  Land and all its riches belong to the people as a whole.

17)          What Shall We Do With The Land Once It Has Been Reclaimed?

Often rural development is used as ruse to deny the legitimacy of land redistribution. This logic must be exposed for what it is.  As part of responding to the colonizing discourses on land, there is a need to place the question squarely:  LAND MUST BE RETURNED BECAUSE IT BELONGS TO BLACK PEOPLE! That’s the first principle. What we would do with the land is none of the business of the land thieves. We want back because it’s ours! That there shall be a new efficient black farming class and that land shall be used productively is secondary question. We want it back even if it’s to look at it every morning and cry out loud IZWE-LETHU!

18)          Rural Development

Rural Development is central to the agrarian revolution. It must end the current profit motive that dominates agricultural production. Rural development must end the slave and master relations on farms and also end the town and rural divisions between town and country. Land redistribution and obliteration of the power of the landed racial lords on commercial farms and feudal in former homelands is central to a new agrarian system that responds to the needs of people and the environment.

19)          The following measures shall be taken by an EFF government.

  1. a) The EFF Government’s ideological, political and programmatic approach to rural development is inspired by the notion that there should be “Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country”.
  1. b) The EFF’s view of rural development is not trapped in the notion that the rurality of rural areas should be left intact, instead, rural areas should begin to partake in real economic activities and programmes, which should be supported and financed by the State.
  1. c) The EFF Government custodianship of all land will lead into equal redistribution of all land amongst all people.
  1. d) The EFF Government will help small scale agriculture with agricultural implements, bulk irrigation schemes, bulk stock feeding schemes and medication to produce quality agricultural products.
  1. e) The EFF Government will revive abandoned factories in the townships and rural
  2. f) The EFF Government will help chicken farmers with state owned hatcheries, abattoirs and chicken processing factories which will be at the centre of growing and assisting the production of chicken products.
  1. g) The EFF Government will help small agriculture to gain sustainable access to markets through increasing state consumption of food and agricultural products from small scale farmers, compelling food retailers to buy food and agricultural products locally and opening African and world food markets.
  1. h) The EFF government shall pass laws to prohibit the production of Genetically Modified Organism (GMOs) specifically maize, the staple diet of the people.
  1. i) National campaigns shall be undertaken to educate the nation about the dangers of
  1. j) Institutions of higher learning shall be required to provide courses in rural development to prepare graduates for national service.

20)          How shall our movement circumvent the real danger of imperialist sabotage?

Imperialism and global racist elements are expected to react to the mass land redistribution through Expropriation Without Compensation just like they did in Zimbabwe. The strategy of imperial sabotage is based on mass terror, starvation and attacks on the economy of progressive government including running on the currency of such nations to instigate unmanageable inflation to strangulate the people to submission through hunger and economic hardships. Our people must be educated and prepared for this reaction and the revolutionary government must be prepared to defend national soverignity and ameliorate the impact of such expected imperial attack. The fact that imperialism shall respond in these ways should not be a deterant to the radical agenda but a motivation to plan better. EFF is driven by revolutionary courage and shall not be intimidated into submission by bully tactics of imperialism and representatives of settler colonialism.

The first line of defense is ideological front. Our people must be educated about the truth of the country right now. The fact that only 40 000 families own 80% of the South African land. That only 8% redistributed in 20 years and it would take more than 100 years to redistribute only 30% of through the willing buyer willing seller at more than R200 billion rand. Our people must be educated about the truth that land was stolen from the African majority. The vanguard Party must also brought to the consciousness of the people the food insecurity of the majority and the ignity that we have been reduced to chicken feet eater people by the humiliation of racism and landlessness. The Party must raise the consciousness of the people to desire true liberation and to lead dignified lives as free citizens.

It is important to counter the imperialist propaganda against the Zimbabwean land Chimurenga or land revolution. The truth must be told about who destroyed the Zimabwean economy and why and how. The truth must be further be told about how the Zimabwean economy is currently being stabilized and the historic revival of the agricultural sector now black owned. The success of the tobacco industry, cotton and maize must be elevated and exposed. To complete this task it would be important that EFF organizes fact finding missions to Zimbabwe including taking the mainstream media with so that the truth is exposed and our people get a fair picture of developments in Zimbabwe. Yes the Zimbabwean people have come under heavy global imperialist attack, there is no denying the massive negative consequences of these attacks. EFF is aware of these and therefore should plan better for such eventuality. The lessons from Zimbabwe must not be forgotten as the movement marches forward to a new land and agrarian reality based on decolonization.

Other key measures includes setting up and training Red Brigades which shall ensure production on farms continues and food gets into the shelves during the period of expropriation. The state shall criminalise any sabotage of food production and penalty shall not be less than treason. Farm workers shall be prioritized for political education, supported as producers and defended as new farmers to ensure continuity of production at all times. The fact that about 80% of South African food that gets to the market is produced by about 5000 Agricultural corporation is an advantage for the revolutionary government. This makes monitoring of any politically motivated food supply sabotage much an easier task.

The vanguard party shall imbue our people with warrior spirit the Marikana Warriors. We chose to die on our feet than to live on our knees. We prepare for battles ahead!

[1] The two nations thesis was convincingly articulated by former president Thabo Mbeki, where he showed that there was a white South Africa which is saturated by privilege and there was black South African which was defined by poverty and exclusion.

[2] See Bernard Magubane and Frantz Fanon WHITE SKINS BLACK MASKS and WRETCHED OF THE EARTH and Sartre’s prereface.

[3] The place of Jan van Riebeeck as the first land thief is imortalised in the revolutionary songs of our movement, “uVan Riebeeck liselalokuq’la”.

[4] See Andile Mngxitama’s BLACKS CANT BE RACIST.

[5] A tactical retreat in war is part of the ethic of battle. If one set out to get to point B which is well defined, but in the road one was faced with an obstacle such as a mountain, on cost benefit analysis one could choose a detour instead of climbing the impossible terrain. But moving sideways is only temporary till one gets the strategic advantage to proceed to point B. the liberation movement forgot the strategic vision of liberation and accepted the necessary de tour as the destination and therefore sold out the original vision of liberation.

[6] Dr Gilingwe Mayende is a former Director General in Department of Land Affairs. He worked in that capacity for almost a decade and argues that section 25 as amended ultimately sanctions the “willing buyer, – willing seller” principle. He is like most radical economist arguing for the amendment of the section.

[7] Judge Siraj Desai has publicity began to question the foundations of the constitution on property.

[8] See EFF press release on the policy.

[9] Land Tenure, refers to land holding system and management of land. basically, how land must be used, accessed and managed and by whom? Who owns the land? is part of the tenure arrangement regimes.

[10]The Decree on Land, written by Lenin, was passed by the  second congress of soviets of workers, Second Congress of Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies on 26 October 1917, following the success of the October Revolutution. It decreed an abolition of  private property, private and the redistribution of the landed estates  amongst the peasantry”

[11] The Economic attack on the Zimbabwean Economic to punish Zanu-PF for taking the historic measures has been deep. Its enoucouraging to see that the economic hardships are now getting resolved and the Zimbabwean people own their land and thereby rendering Zimbabwe the only truly liberated African country in Sab-Saharan Africa.

[12] See Mamdani’s CITIZENS AND SUBJECTS (1996).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s