The SA government will not allow land grabs and anarchy in the process of finding a solution for the land issue, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday evening.
He spoke at a conference in Johannesburg attended by investors of South African Breweries (SAB) and AB InBev Africa investors, who had expressed an interest in the SA government’s efforts to attract new foreign direct investment of $100m over the next five years.
Ramaphosa said the land issue will be addressed in such a way that the outcome is good for all in SA.
“We will not allow land grabs or anarchy. I am saying we will handle this challenge. Once we addressed and resolved the land question, the country will take off,” he said.
“I have full confidence that if we could negotiate the death of apartheid, we will be able to find a solution that will put the land issue to bed so that this country can really unleash its power.”
He emphasised that the sore of how the land was taken away from the indigenous people of SA remains alive and bleeding.
“The ANC has since its founding sent the message of ‘let our land come back’. Now, all these years later, the issue of land is still here. It is about how it was taken away from the people,” said Ramaphosa.
“That remains in the hearts and minds of this country. The sore remains alive and bleeding.”
He said that, in dealing with the challenge of land, the history of the issue must be taken into account.
“In 1994 there was a bloodless revolution, yet the economy remains in the hands of a minority. The land issue remains,” he said.
“The party that I lead has had to live up to the aspirations of our people wanting land in the country of their birth. Therefore, we need to empower them.”
Ramaphosa said it is in the public interest to ensure that the grievances of the past are addressed.
“The land reform process will always be one of these. The challenge we have is addressing this grievance of our people and to make sure there is stability in the development of our country by ensuring we create economic opportunity for all,” he said.
“What we in SA are going through is a period of challenges. Some of those challenges are from the recent past – for instance corruption that was rife.”
He said in dealing with corruption one must see how the state can be strengthened to push out corruption and hold people accountable to enable economic growth for the majority of South Africans.
“Challenges in the investment environment can be addressed by finalising policy consistency regarding issues like mining, transport and land. I am just out of a Cabinet strategy session. We are commitment and determined to repair the damage of the past,” he said.
“Right now, government must address all these issues and speed up investments, for instance, by means of special economic zones. In our struggle today, we are grateful for the opportunity to engage with investors, to attract investments and grow our economy.”
In his view, to reach the goal of finding a new era for the African continent, one needs to get investments.
He said that, since SA is the gateway to Africa, one can look at investors or potential investors here at the tip of the African continent as being able to unleash other investment opportunities with more potential due to growing intra-African trade.
“Companies that invest in the SA economy are opening themselves up to far greater opportunities in Africa and even to countries like the US through AGOA (the African Growth and Opportunity Act). These market opportunities are for those investors who are producing goods and services in SA,” said Ramaphosa.
He regards SAB/AB InBev as an example of a good corporate citizen.
“SAB is empowering the majority. About 95% of the input utilised in its beer is now produced in SA. More importantly, they are empowering more and more black farmers. Today I am proud to be working with SAB,” he concluded.