Land cannot be stolen: Judge Gildenhuys

Die Vryburger

TAU SA Conference - Image - Die Vryburger

The accusation that farmers stole their land is sheer nonsense because real estate cannot be stolen, only movable goods can be stolen.

Said Judge Antonie Gildenhuys at a land conference that was hosted by TAU SA in Pretoria.

Judge Gildenhuys pointed to a second aspect, namely that all land is allocated regarding applicable laws, though it could be argued that the laws may have been unfair.

He also referred to recorded history such as Credo Muthwa about moving black tribes into Africa. “We have therefore not stolen any land. The 1913 and 1936 legislations on land was aimed at transferring land to blacks. Perhaps the process is not perfect, but the intentions behind it were pure.”

Since the ANC took over, land issues have been dealt with by legislation introduced in the Mandela time. Those laws were in force for about 20 years. The laws that have been proposed over the last three years, however, is much more radical.

In a survey of different countries’ land reform legislation, judge Gildenhuys refers to the process that was followed in India, where the situation might best be compared to South Africa. They have the caste system. The insistence there is that the people who work the land, it must possess the land. New laws have been introduced to implement land reform but is always set aside by the Constitutional Court. Eventually, the constitution was amended to remove the property clause in its entirety. Therefore, something could also happen in South Africa.

Judge Gildenhuys said the desire for land reform is not to have land, but rather for people to regain their dignity. They considered it humiliating to lose their land, and perhaps it would be a solution to compensate people with a house in the urban areas because people do not really want land or want to farm, but the restoration of their dignity.

However, there are inequities that occur from benefit claimants. People who may have been displaced under the old law now serves a claim against the land where they have been moved to, but still, want to retain the land where they have been moved from. They, therefore, benefit twice.

A lawyer who works with land issues, Mr. Pieter Moolman, said at the summit that his experience is that 80% of the demands they deal with have no merit. However to prove this in court is too expensive almost as much as R125 000 per day.

Mr. Danie du Plessis, TAU’s regional representative in the eastern Transvaal, said the time for saying “sorry” is over. We must now look to the future for sustainable solutions so that farmers can continue farming and food security remains in place.

Read the original article in Afrikaans on Die Vryburger

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