Mandela calls for land reform

SOUTH AFRICA'S President Nelson Mandela warned yesterday that only a fair redistribution of land to its former black owners would guarantee peace as the country emerged from apartheid minority rule.

Mr Mandela was speaking at an emotional ceremony in this sleepy town in the volatile KwaZulu- Natal province, held to mark the handing back of more than 600,000 hectares of land to former black owners.

Mr Mandela, who became president in 1994 in the country's first democratic elections, said the Land Reform Programme that his government had enacted in its first year in power would help right the wrongs of the past.

"Our land reform programme helps redress the injustices of apartheid. It fosters national reconciliation and stability," he told a gathering, which included the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini. "It also underpins economic growth and improves household welfare and food security." he added.

The ceremony involved handing back land to about 85 black households, whose land was expropriated by whites during the apartheid era. Up to 25 of the beneficiaries were black women.

Mr Mandela said that his government's land reform, which involves negotiations between the victims of apartheid and the whites who still own most of South Africa's best land, would help create stability by raising living standards.

"The progress we are making in land reform is matched in our efforts to address the poverty that apartheid created," he said.

South Africa's land reform programme contrasts sharply with that of neighbouring Zimbabwe where the government of President Robert Mugabe has given notice that it will expropriate land from white owners without any compensation.

In South Africa, land redistribution is done through the Restitution of Land Rights Act enacted in 1994. This involves buying back land at market value after negotiations between former black owners and white farmers.

Land ownership is one of the most emotive issues in South Africa, where whites make up 13 per cent of the population but control over 70 per cent of the land.

South Africa's parliament passed legislation soon after the first all- race election in 1994 giving thousands of blacks stripped of their land under decades of apartheid three years to claim it back.

About 23,000 cases have already been lodged with the commission, which is overseeing the restitution of land rights.

Statistics show that up to 400,000 hectares of land have been redistributed back to almost a quarter of a million of former black owners.

But the scheme has its critics, who say land redistribution is not moving fast enough and say the government programme must be speeded up if South Africa is to avoid Zimbabwe's problems.

Ground-breaking land tenure protection to shield black farmworkers from arbitrary eviction by landowners also became law in South Africa in November last year.

The farmworkers, who are mostly black, have been one of the most disadvantaged sectors in the country.

Previously, they had no recourse to the law in cases of eviction, even if their families had worked the same farm land for decades.

Mr Mandela's government is not bent on a confrontational approach with white farmers and businessmen. It is also encouraging new black land owners to join in economic partnerships with white businessmen and former land owners.

n AP Johannesburg - A flight from London to Johannesburg has landed Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in trouble. It began at the British Airways first-class check-in counter at Heathrow Airport last week, when Mr Mandela's former wife tried to board a flight with excess baggage.

When she was told she had to pay pounds 1,000 for extra luggage, she said she had only one-third of the money. After arriving in South Africa, she fired off a letter to the airline, saying she had been travelling first-class on a diplomatic passport and had expected better treatment.

After opposition politicians asked why she had such a diplomatic passport the government said Ms Madikizela-Mandela was no longer entitled to such a privilege. It had been issued to her when she was a minister, a post she lost three years ago.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Life and Style
tech
News
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
news
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
theatre
Extras
indybest
News
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
tvWebsite will allow you to watch all 522 shows on-demand
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sales and Maketing Manager, St Albans, Hertfordshire

£55 - £70K OTE £130k Plus Car: Charter Selection: Major multi-million pound la...

Drupal Developer

£40000 - £52000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Drupal developer v...

Operations and Maintenance Engineer - Solar

£30000 - £40000 Per Annum plus benefits/bonus package: The Green Recruitment C...

Sales and Maketing Director (Designate) , Watford, Hertfordshire

£60- £70K OTE £120k Plus Car: Charter Selection: Major multi-million pound lan...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor