Minister Alan Winde Comments on Press Conference Hosted by Cosatu
I have taken note of a press conference led today by Cosatu and the ANC.
The Western Cape Government stands in agreement with the above organisations in that we condemn illegal evictions. There are very clear laws which must be followed in the eviction process, be it on a farm or on any other property in South Africa.
We also stand with Cosatu and its allied organisations in calling for the National Development Plan’s recommendation on land reform to be implemented. It is our aim to increase both the pace and scale of transformation in this sector. In the Western Cape, we are making headway on this, and look forward to piloting some projects based on the NDP’s model in the near future. The agricultural sector has also issued its commitment to land reform. We are well set to lead in this regard, as the province which already holds the best land reform success rate in the country. We call on the national government to collaborate with us in our aim to speed up land reform and redress in our region.
However, I stand against the sweeping language used by these bodies, especially in the absence of any firm figures being provided to back up their claims. Regrettably, as is their usual tactic, the above bodies have chosen to play politics around this issue, in what appears to be an attempt to stoke controversy in our agricultural sector. They have done this despite there being several mechanisms at their disposal through which it is possible to engage around finding real solutions to farmworker issues. The fact that no proof of an escalation in evictions has been shared with us is of high concern, and I call on Cosatu to provide specific evidence to my office so that I may take this up with the national government.
Following the Land Reform Summit hosted by my department in September, I wrote to Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Mcebisi Skwatsha, noting our concern around this matter and requested information on all reported cases of illegal evictions. We have received no feedback as yet.
In order to engage the issue of evictions, we must have the correct figures and facts on the table. This includes the numbers of all evictions, urban and rural, in each province. I will again request that the national department in charge of land reform provides me with these figures.
In the interim, I would like to call on Cosatu and the ANC to engage in this matter in a responsible manner which does not destabilise our agricultural sector. Together, we can find a better way forward which does not compromise, but creates, new farmers and jobs in this sector.