Land equality a long way off, say professors

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It will take about 250 years for South Africa to make serious headway in ensuring ownership of land in the country is fair.

This is according to Professor Fred Hendricks, who was speaking at the fourth big The Herald Community Dialogue at the South End museum yesterday. Hendricks and two colleagues, professors Lungisile Ntsebeza and Kirk Helliker, also speakers at the dialogue, recently launched their book, The Promise of Land, Undoing a Century of Dispossession in South Africa which focused on assessing the impact of the 1913 Land Act on today's society.

The head of the sociology department at Rhodes University, Hendricks yesterday said a different approach was needed to ensure more people had access to land. He said the book, which was launched on the centenary anniversary of the 1913 Act at the University of Cape Town, highlighted that South Africa had reached an impasse on the issues surrounding land reform.

"At the conference where we launched the book, a declaration was drafted concerning the different questions about land and was handed over to the office of the state president in June, giving them a time limit to reply to the declaration. "Last week, unfortunately, we heard the office of the president had missplaced our declaration and they were asking for us to resend it." He said the government had to be held accountable.

Helliker said the matter of land reform had to be looked at from the right angles. "When looking at major land reform issues, one has to visualise change from the bottom." The professors, interacting with the audience after their presentations, said there was no "one size fits all" when it came to land issues and major work was needed to make a dent in land reform.

Photo Caption: LAND EXPERTS: Kirk Helliker, Fred Hendricks and Lungisile Ntsebeza at the Community Dialogue at the South End Museum Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

By: Thulani Gqirana

Article Source: The Herald

Source:  The Herald