THE BLOG
12/03/2018 18:31 SAST | Updated 12/03/2018 19:00 SAST

The Proverbial Student Becomes The Daring Teacher

A complete overhaul of the composition of land ownership is crucial.

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On February 27, 2018, EFF CIC Julius Malema delivered what will go down in history as one of the most iconic speeches ever delivered on the Parliament floor. It will surely rival former president Thabo Mbeki's two iconic speeches – but this speech is like no other; Julius Malema spoke truth to power.

He hardly used metaphorical platitudes that would later describe the rolling hilltops with great detail or how vast and awe-inspiring our mountainous escarpments are. He set his sights fully on the black plight and never looked back. He spoke with a fire in his chest about what needs to be done to realise the tenets of the national democratic revolution.

For too long, the indigenous people of this land have been marginalised through historical displacement and, far more vexing, structural oppression informed by modern-day South Africa's land ownership structure. For too long, ordinary black South Africans have been treated as second-class citizens in the birth country of their forefathers.

It is only now that those in positions of power – the EFF and ANC in particular, and the black majority more broadly – are willing to challenge the status quo and defy the existing forces. The EFF tabled a motion in Parliament saying that land must be expropriated without compensation and distributed equally to those who live on it.

This resolution was met with little resistance. This monumental event can't be understated. What this effectively means is that the black child will no longer be confined to bantu settlements and densely overpopulated townships.

Say what you will about the EFF and their unruly and unconventional approach to things, they get things done. The EFF spoke about the nationalisation of mines, land expropriation without compensation and free education when it wasn't fashionable to do so

This essentially means that in the near future, the black majority will finally have an equal share of farmable land and land in general to do with as they please. The land issue has been top of mind for quite some time. It features prominently in the ANC's Freedom Charter, with naysayers saying any narrative to this effect would ultimately only conflate issues and encourage land grabs and lead us to total destruction.

But when one looks at this with deep introspection, one only fully appreciates how important the land question is when one unmasks how disproportionate land ownership is in this country. How so many generations of people, as Malema emphatically put it, lived in and perished without having ever seen a title deed. How the black plight is a historic and present one. A clear death sentence, simply for being born black.

That is why relooking the property clause is important. This is why a complete overhaul of the composition of land ownership is crucial for our cause. This isn't about the white minority, nor is it about taking the land of their forefathers – who, it's important to note, forcibly wrestled the land from its original inhabitants.

Sumaya Hisham / Reuters
Julius Malema, leader of minority opposition party EFF. February 12, 2018. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

This is about how this moment will unlock opportunities to build black-owned enterprises such as business parks, schools, hospitals, estates and other establishments that couldn't be built nor realised owing to the lack of accessible land.

This is a watershed moment. Say what you will about the EFF and its unruly and unconventional approach to things, it gets things done. The EFF spoke about the nationalisation of mines, land expropriation without compensation and free education when it wasn't fashionable to do so.

Say what you will of the EFF's red overalls and confrontational tone in Parliament, without it Zuma could well still have been in the Union Buildings.

Some would argue that it has set in motion necessary evils that seek to offset the balance of forces. The EFF does not hold its tongues nor seek anyone's approval, and it is high time black people affirmed their existence.