LETTER: DA policy on land is clear
Land reform can and must be implemented without sacrificing our Constitution, writes Mmusi Maimane
Since you raise several observations about the state of the party in your editorial, spanning the effect of Cyril Ramaphosa, the Cape Town water crisis, contestation for leadership positions and the land debate, it is not immediately clear what you mean by the DA’s "soul" (DA needs to find its soul, March 12).
All of these are indeed challenges. Any party big enough to govern a province and four metros will face challenges of this nature, and more. It is how we meet these challenges that is telling. And nothing in the DA’s response to any of the issues raised in your editorial suggests we have compromised our values or forgotten, in any way, why we do what we do.
Yes, "Ramaphoria" has had an effect on all parties, but it will wear off and reality will set in. Yes, the water crisis and the leadership issue in Cape Town have been challenging, but we dealt decisively with the former and are doing so with the latter, ANC games notwithstanding.
Yes, there is contestation for positions within the DA. We’re a healthy, dynamic party with ambitious leaders. I would be worried if positions weren’t contested.
But it is on what you describe as the "wedge issue" of land that I would like to dwell briefly. Land is not a wedge issue for the DA. There is no confusion, and we’re not pulling in different directions. We firmly believe in 100% secure property rights for all South Africans, and we are committed to speedy and just land reform. These are not mutually exclusive.
Section 25 of our Constitution is not an impediment to equitable land reform, as almost every expert — including the Motlanthe report — has agreed. If the will to properly test this clause existed, along with the will to root out corruption in the department, we would not be having this divisive debate.
The DA’s position has always been clear. Land reform can and must be implemented without sacrificing our Constitution, along with the property rights of all South Africans current and future, black and white, at the altar of populism.
What is concerning though is that Business Day – the publication many consider to be the paper of record, and certainly the publication that should understand the role property rights play in a stable, growing economy – does not also emphatically hold this view.