Mosiuoa Lekota is calling for a more sensible approach towards South Africa’s land issue amid calls from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to take land from white people without compensation, endorsed by president Jacob Zuma.
Speaking to Radio 702 this week, Lekota said that the claim that white people ‘stole the land’ from black people in South Africa is not correct, and that land ownership in the country is determined through decades of buying, selling and negotiation.
According to Lekota, land ownership was not even a concept until white colonists arrived in the Cape and Natal, when they introduced title deeds. This formalised land ownership, and has ultimately made it possible for anyone to acquire land today.
Before title deeds, land was simply occupied, Lekota said, and the black majority who now claim the land as theirs were not even the original occupiers, having come from the “great lakes” to the north.
“We, the so-called Bantu speaking South Africans, came from the North, from the Great Lakes, we over ran territory here which was occupied by the Khoi and the San. There was no title, we just occupied that land,” he said.
“We were not even the original residents here. The people we call Baroa, the People of the South – Ba boroa, the People of the South, it’s the Khoi, the people we found here.”
Lekota said that the Khoi people sold the land or negotiated with Cape settlers to work out ownership.
The COPE leader said that black people should rid themselves of the view that all white people walking around own land – and those that do, bought it. The government can take the land back from them – but only if it shows a title deed saying “this is my land”.