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Why I am opposed to land grabs

   27 October 2017   l   Johnny Masilela    l   Views: 95   l   5 months ago  


Let me start by declaring this particular column has nothing to do with politics.

By the way, as one who has been shaped by the journalism profession, I have never had the opportunity to hoist my political colours to the mast.

The million-ox question: do journalists have a secret political side that they support?

My own take on politics is simply that there are a range of good and bad things about say, DA policies. The same goes for the ANC and Economic Freedom Fighters.

With this in mind, I shall attempt here to put across my deeply personal opinion around the question of illegal land occupation, be it a desperate move by the homeless, or action by one political party or another to press home a point of view.

If you follow politics like us journalists, you should be very much aware of the new catch-phrase: radical economic transformation.

As for illegal land occupation, I personally grew up in an environment of the black middle class of years gone by.

That is, my dad, the farm school principal, was the only black person driving a car and putting on a necktie, while my mom had the luxury of a Singer sewing machine, which was the envy of the working class women on the farmlands.

Talking about land, my dad purchased two smallholdings on the erstwhile subsistence farmlands of Klippan, north of Pretoria, meaning the Masilelas were land-owners even at the height of Apartheid.

While we chose to sell one of the farms, the other still remained but with no agricultural activity following the death of cousin Aaron.

In recent weeks I received a call from a nephew to the effect that family members were divided as to whether to sublet pieces of land to the homeless.

The problem here — and as a direct result of the specifications of the Constitution — is that once the homeless get access to one’s land, there is no way of evicting them until they find a proper roof over their heads.

My late uncle Phillip Kgosana — stalwart of the “land first” Pan Africanist Congress — privately discussed fears of strangers occupying his farm, although he believed in the orderly access to land for the poor.

Land grabs are certainly not for me, the privileged descendent of the black middle class of those halcyon days.    

• Johnny Masilela is the editor of The Post’s sister newspaper, The Beat. 




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