HomeOpinionOpinionDoes God have anything to say about land?

Does God have anything to say about land?

 
Zumaland

President Jacob Zuma, who is seeking to accelerate land reform in South Africa by changing the law to allow expropriation of land without compensation. (PHOTO: Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via biznews.com).

cherdudley1

Does God have anything to say about land and does it require a response from us?”…if we do not genuinely work toward seeing land ownership and wealth is increasingly in the hands of the people in South Africa we are courting disaster.
“… government’s inability – to date – to address the matter of skewed land ownership…is increasing inequality, deepening the divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ and threatening to destabilize the country…”
— Cheryllyn Dudley MP ACDP,  March 5 2017

The bible, which has a lot to say about land and land distribution, supports the view that there is nothing more important to the life of a people than land and that land is essential for a nation to exist and an economy to prosper.

It has been said that “the real wealth of a nation is in the potential of the land and its people” (Landa Cope, God & Justice) – and that a society’s level of poverty is linked to where that wealth is held and how the people and the land are allowed to develop.

The 21st century global reality as Landa sees it, is still that: “where land ownership is in the hands of the government, religious institutions, or a minority elite, nations remain desperately poor and underdeveloped. In some of these poorer nations land is owned almost entirely by one or all three.”

The way I see  we cannot get away from the fact that the distribution of land is closely linked to whether or not economic development actually addresses the scourge of poverty in a society. I am convinced that if we do not genuinely work toward seeing that land ownership and wealth is increasingly in the hands of the people in South Africa we are courting disaster.

Where I differ from the likes of the EFF, however, who express similar aspirations, is that I am just as convinced that due process must ensure protection against abuse.

Due process is scriptural
Due process with checks and balances is scriptural and intended to be a deterrent as far as corruption is concerned. Sadly the reality is that where corruption can take place there are always those who will be corrupt — and it is ordinary people who are taken advantage of and their families lose out.

Just as without reasonable legal protection from state abuse, measures to empower people become a threat to the very same people.

With this in mind it is reassuring that the vast majority in parliament recently upheld the protections in the constitution that pertain to property while acknowledging land must urgently be transferred — in far greater measure — into the hands of individuals, families and communities, if we are to prosper as a nation.

So why then would the President of the country be calling for changes to the constitution in this regard?

The Expropriation Bill — recently passed and more recently sent back to Parliament — which gives all state entities the power to take land from churches, banks, commercial businesses, food producers, miners, and ordinary people if deemed necessary — aims to compensate for the fact that the “willing buyer willing seller” principle has frustrated both land reform and infrastructure development — both crucial if economic gains are to impact the lives of the majority of people.

My take on this is that the president is reacting to the fact that opposition parties have succeeded through the courts in holding up legislative measures needed to move the process forward. He appears to be extremely frustrated by his governments inability, to date, to address the matter of skewed land ownership which is increasing inequality, deepening the divide between the haves and the have-nots and threatening to destabilise the country.

This over-reaction — although understandable — is unfortunate as the protections in the constitution are not there for a select few but for all in South Africa who own or aspire to owning property.

Under the common law, the state is constrained and cannot simply seize property without obtaining a court order and our constitution strengthens these common-law protections.

Valuations court
In addition to retaining the safeguards in the constitution for all who live in South Africa, it would be wise to have the issue of compensation dealt with by a dedicated valuations court which would assess and sign-off on all compensation linked to forced expropriation in line with the constitution.

In my opinion, the land reform process must be prioritised and genuinely supported by all who live in South Africa if we want a peaceful and prosperous future. We simply have no future unless it is a shared future!

It is unwise to give extremists and other agendas fertile ground to use the deprivation of so many to create chaos and fuel their agendas.

Land — whether expropriated where necessary or not — must result in land ownership and the empowerment of families across the country.

 
 

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5 Comments

  1. Zululander says:

    All your assumptions are based on race. As the president said, when 97% of land was given to blacks, the preferred the money. It’s not a land issue, it’s a politically correct issue being used by politicians. As you say, land is important to any country so it can produce food for everyone. The land in SA is doing just that very well. Out of 40million black people in the country what % will end up with a viable farm if all the white owned farms were given to them. 1 or 2 %? 99.5% of blacks will never have a piece of land anyway if the Govt. buys out as many farm as it thinks it should. The millions of rural hectares that blacks live on and controlled by chiefs don’t produce a thing commercially. This whole land thing is political correctness and opportunism by politicians. The problem of the rich becoming richer and the poor poorer is a world wide problem, not just in SA. That’s why God tells us to give to the poor as we will always have the poor with us. The only contries in the world that do well are capitalist countries. Jesus came to change hearts, not make poor rich or rich poor. CHanged hearts will get the rich to be compassionate with the poor, not govt legislation. Thus the need for the gospel and prayer in SA. We have a spiritual problem in SA.
    Blessings

  2. Stewardship of land must be expedited too, in SA and beyond. There are indeed vast tribal areas, as well as previously allocated farmland, to which I as an outreach worker can testify, with nothing commercially viable happening there at all. Importantly however, food security from productive farms must not be hindered or threatened by political and popularist sleigh of hand. Thou shalt not steal or covet, says the Bible, nor murder (farmers).

  3. Sarah says:

    I really like this post. In addition, in KZN a lot of land is held in tribal trust. I hope to see it in the hands of people. We cannot use the excuse that “if we give land to black ppl there will be no farms and they just want the money anyway” as in comments above. 1) it is not giving land it is returning it. It is morrally wrong to take something from someone and use the excuse you can use it better. Like walking into a shop and saying, well no one was using that vacuum cleaner properly so I support the person who stole it and is using it to vacuum their house. 2) If people choose to rather take compensation / that is their choice. Being poor for so long means when given back your land – you don’t have capitol to move forward. This is not the fault of the victims that had their land taken and forced into poverty, so perhaps we need to think of a way to help them once they get their land. These are desperate victims not the money grabbing ppl they’re made out to be. 3) To assume all black people cant use land effectively is racist. Most African ppl for e.g. Have a long history of cattle farming. In addition many rural peopl are subsistance farmers. White notes aren’t born able to farm, they’re taught.

  4. Sarah says:

    Notes should be boers. Also, we need to realize people didn’t just have their land taken, they also had a 100 years of productivity, learning and teaching future generations, building capital etc. perhaps stolen land should be given back with an added interest that compensates for lost years and is used for skills building etc.

  5. D.N.Stirk says:

    Look at Zimbabwe.It cannot support itself food-wise,and many have left the country. Much land in South Africa is already owned by the state,and most of it is unproductive.This is a political ploy by the ANC to remain in power. Individual or private land ownership is the only answer to a stable nation. Communal land ownership does not work,and that is why much of Africa is in a third world situation. Organized Agriculture must have contingent plans to fight expropriation tooth and nail.Expropriation will be the end of Southern and Central Africa,not only destabilizing the country,but leading also to starvation and untold suffering. It will lead up to “end-times”and much tribulation. South Africans of average wealth,do not have the resources to emigrate,and are bound nationally by the sea.We cannot run away like Zimbabweans or other overpopulated African countries, who practice subsistence farming. Commercial farmers are the backbone of any developed nation.Individuals are important in the Eyes of GOD.Personal endeavour and expertise are the recipe for success and progress. Handouts are a recipe for disaster,and will play into the hands of the progenitors of a New World Order,the authors of which are entirely evil. As farmers we are not against any race owning the land -we will mentor and help newcomers as much as we possibly can. All we ask is for security and peace to be left to advance our beloved country. Be careful ANC you are playing with a tiger,and I believe GOD will intervene.