The ruling party held a town hall meeting at Marks Park to address and debate the land questions that are facing the country.
Residents of Johannesburg’s affluent suburbs like Westcliff, Forest Town, Parkview, Greenside, Melville and Auckland Park were invited to Marks Park in Emmarentia to share input on the land debate.
The African National Congress (ANC’s) Jeannette Schoon hosted a town hall meeting where the former executive mayor of Johannesburg and current ANC Gauteng treasurer, Parks Tau and others were in attendance to make their opinions heard.
Dr Oscar van Heerden, strategic support at Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo, opened proceedings by discussing the ANC’s resolution to follow through with expropriation without compensation. He stated that the topic was heavily debated by the party but the decision to do this was adopted by the party as a whole. He added that as difficult as this decision is to commit to it was accepted by all that the land issue is a historical injustice that has to be corrected.
Former executive mayor of Johannesburg, Parks Tau supported the notion of land reform. He stated that land reform is not only about ownership and expropriation but also about land use. He stressed the reality that many South Africans face, which is moving from townships to suburban surroundings for work purposes. He stated that South Africans need to think about how people are located in relation to their jobs and other services. This would result in various benefits in micro and macroeconomics.
Fatima Shabodien, former country director of Action Aid, discussed the land history of South Africa. She spoke about the Dutch occupation of the Koi’s land in the Cape. That moment triggered a history of exploitation, inequality and gross violations of human rights. She went on to discuss the relationships between land, rights, politics, labour, farming and redistribution. She acknowledged that the land question is a topic that invokes deep emotion and that is why such discussions need to be held.