Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Picture: SIPHIWE SIBEKO/REUTERS
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Picture: SIPHIWE SIBEKO/REUTERS

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says denying land rights to SA’s black majority is a “time bomb”‚ with people’s patience on the matter “slowly wearing out”.

Dlamini-Zuma, who serves as minister in the presidency for planning‚ monitoring and evaluation, was speaking at the department of rural development and land reform’s women and youth dialogue on land reform on Wednesday evening.

She was accompanied by ANC Women’s League president and minister for women, Bathabile Dlamini‚ former communications minister Faith Muthambi and rural development minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

“This situation of the land is untenable‚” she said.

“The continuous denial of land rights to the vast majority of South Africans is a time bomb. We stand to lose as the patience of our people is slowly wearing out. There must be urgently a way of dealing with this land issue.

“Failure to do that means we risk instability in the country and we risk … [losing] a lot more than we can gain from being quiet. It cannot be business as usual.”

Dlamini-Zuma said the question of land ownership remained one of the great challenges in post-apartheid SA.

“It is a travesty that despite the land reform strategy and the policies we adopted in 1994‚ only about 7% of the land has been successfully moved to the black majority. The picture still remains largely the same‚ with 90% of the land in private hands. White landowners own 70% of all farming land‚ with Africans only owning 4%‚” she said.

“The current land reform process‚ which largely relies on the willing-buyer‚ willing-seller [approach] as well as the reluctant financial sector‚ is not adequate to free our people from the yoke of landlessness.… Securing title deeds is the first step in the right direction but even this is unlikely to make significant differences in the skewed patterns of ownership‚” she said.

The dialogue will continue in Boksburg until Friday with politicians‚ land and legal experts. Hundreds of women involved in the agricultural sector and students in the same field‚ were bussed in from across the country to attend the event.