Categories
Stateman's Address

My Submission during the Land Expropriation… Hearings

As a pastor, a father, a community leader, a bridgebuilder, a peacemaker and social strategist I am fighting for equality, inclusion, cohesion, and the common good of all.

On the deepest level, people are crying and grieving for an economic solution. However, you cannot fix the economic recession, huge inequality, and precarious poverty with one idea “expropriation without compensation”. The deep-rooted land reform question is simply too complex to solve, in one populist statement: This is a Robin Hood approach, of taking from the rich and giving to the poor. We remember Robin Hood for his bravery, but he did not build a nation.

Emphatically, I do believe that any man or women, who really wants to farm, should be given the opportunity, but redistribution of ALL land and ALL property, is scaring away the very people the young prospecting entrepreneur needs for mentoring and support.

Expropriation without compensation should be an option in clearly defined circumstances, such as absentee landlords, unused land, hopelessly indebted land, land held by speculators, land acquired by illegal means such as corruption or fraud, and unproductive land, and the value of land upheld. The experts of law disclosed that the Constitution does not need to be changed for this purpose.

Whether the Constitution remains unchanged, or changed. Whether people will receive land or not, eventually it will be discovered; money and prosperity follows and prevail where there is Justice, Fairness, Generosity, Order, Integrity, Faithfulness, Passion, Innovation and Hard work.

As a matter of fact the innermost heart of humanity isn’t about ownership. Jesus Christ practised a life of making many rich, yet he owned no land, and left behind no earthly possessions.

A man’s true wealth is not determined by what he owns, but by what he gives away.

In the end, it is how we stewarded the land that determines whether we produced enough, delicious, beautiful fruit, commodities and produce.

I have personally seen that in our various attempts to train people farming, from small garden projects to herb garden initiatives, a small percentage of the original attendees actually succeed in farming. It takes a certain love, passion and determination to be a farmer. Farmers are also not made in classrooms, nor in political rallies.

Let us rather take the hand of the existing farmers, glean all the knowledge we can from them, work with them, partner with them, and grow a vibrant sector that can flourish with the strength of the youth and the wisdom of the old.

The first step of any reconciliation process, is to first see and recognise the inherent treasure and riches in another. Then to form trusted, reciprocal, respectful friendships that become partnerships, and so collective potential be unlocked!

For this to happen we need to decentralise the process to the lowest level, where parties in the spirit of nation-building  can meet, and find solutions together that is for the common good, builds dignity, and is inclusive.

Then we will see all people in South Africa prosper together!

Categories
Stateman's Address

All land belongs to God.

 As a pastor, I’d say that although I recognise people’s needs, although I know about historical, deliberate displacement of families and the emotional trauma thereof, although I am able to feel, as deeply as I can, the straightforward pain of being imposed upon, and being reduced to poverty, the question of correcting all these realities can’t be reduced to ownership of land.

 The fact is that the innermost heart of humanity isn’t about ownership. This is a currently hyped politically opportunistic venture into persuasive words to stir emotions and gather votes.

 I am a pastor. My vision and concern is to hold care for the human heart supreme, and by so doing, to honour God. Remove God from the equation, and you have humans fighting and squabbling and grabbing land much as predators and scavengers fight over food.

 We are more than that.

 I could spend a lot of time pointing to what Jesus Christ practised, but I can cut to the chase: he owned no land, and had no need to, because he created it.

 His was the sun that volcanoed out our still-cooling earth: his is the mysterious crust on which we walk, wondering how we have come to be here. His is the strange vigour of life which we realise as we engage with our ongoing sense of purpose.

 Owning land means nothing if we don’t know how to husband the land, and the husbanding of families, as a point of significant engagement, has a long way to go, in our country. The hard work, the economic challenges, the discipline of development have been largely ignored in the call for compensation.

 As we argue with one another, and make presentations about what land belongs to whom, we forget how to honour the land, as we try to beget honour for ourselves. Land owes no-one anything. If we feel strongly that we are owed land, let’s not become arrogant and fall prey to ignorance. The entirety of history reflects boundaries and ownership claims. South Africa is no special exception.

 We have the opportunity and the ability to rise above self-pity, greed and opportunism. Our rhetoric and purpose should reflect this. Practically, there is no solution to ownership. Stewardship is a more relevant word, and husbandry the practicality. Owning land means nothing. You have to know what to do with it, and with educational aspirations being as dismal as they are at this time, handing over land for the sake of handing over land is futile.

 I am a pastor. I object to the political rhetoric that destabilises, for the sake of political purposes, our human sense of collaboration. Let the dispossessed speak to the possessors, let owners speak to those who do not own, let us allow the language of collaboration rather than promote the rhetoric of antagonism.

 And let us remember that stewardship and husbandry of land mean more to the people than ownership of land.

 It’s of little use to own a car if you don’t know how to drive it.

 It is of no use to claim land if ownership is the main intention, and fruitfulness neglected.

 Let us be practical as well as ethical, spiritual as well as material, and frank in our words with each other.

 And let us remember that he who created not only land, but also the celestial heavens, dwells in our real hearts.

 I am a pastor, not a politician. I do not seek votes. I seek the conviction of hearts and the concrete building of God’s kingdom. I seek economic opportunity. I seek minimisation of impediment to meaningful work. I seek family foundations. I seek that which really can be done, not the naive daydream of empty ownership, the rhetoric of which sprouts from manipulative politicians. I seek the real walls of healing homes, not the pretended paint that covers nothing.

 

Jan Oosthuizen

(Thanks to Dr Wally Willies for putting words to my voice)

Categories
Stateman's Address

Making a peace offering for Land Expropriation

There is a Swahili saying, “When two bulls fight, it is the grass that suffers.”

Let us appease for the sins of our forefathers by cultivating the economy of this nation through Ethical Inclusive Agricultural Enterprise.

Together we can make SA the Eden of the world again.[1]  The best way to irradiate inequality, unemployment and poverty is growing the economy. Agriculture is the quickest and most sustainable way to do this.[2]Give the most productive commercial farmers a chance, remove the hindrances and legislative restrictions, smooth our path for international success.  No other sector of a country’s economy can sustain rural development as the agricultural sector. It populates the countryside, creates jobs for unskilled workers and draws secondary and tertiary businesses to remote villages. Alleviating the pressure on the cities. [3]

People cannot eat, title deeds, or land in the state. The land itself will not provide you with food on your table. We need a thriving, growing inclusive economy, to sustain and empower the National Development Plan. We need money to build houses, pay for the workers.  We need money to provide services and build infrastructure.  We need money to improve the quest of the poor.  We need money to start new SMME’s and pay people better salaries to go and spend their money at these businesses.

The best answer for Land Reform is not “the best plan”, but one where black and white can come together with forgiveness and serving hearts.[4]

When we take hands, no one can point a finger. Our cultures white and black are more integrated than what is believed. Black and coloured mothers have raised many white children. Our genetic pool is so mixed that there are very few South Africans that can claim they are of pure white or black descent. Our languages are interwoven with bits and pieces of the other. Our original indigenous cultures have all been lost and preserved in museums, as we shop together for the same goods every day.  We are all South Africans, indigenous, unique, a peculiar people with a special message of peace and harmony.

Our democracy is in its turbulent teenage years, but if we hold true to our values forged by our forefathers and leaders, like Madiba, we will grow up into a mature young unified Country standing tall in the World.

The poor are grieving for dignity. A new social Covenant is needed between the people, the private, and public sector to provide work and living conditions for all South Africans that shapes dignity and cultivates potential.

The only way this COUNTRY will survive is where every citizen learns to become productive and creative not in taking, but in giving.  One person, one work! There is no dignity in getting something one has not worked for.  There is also no dignity in saying sorry without offering restitution. There is no dignity in corruption, fraud, theft, lying and cheating.

True dignity is providing a better world for our children.

Dignity is working together for a common good!

We can become a new nation, by working, and building and ruling together.  If Rwanda can rise as a nation, after the greatest deadliest genocide recorded in history, by working together, taking hands, eradicate corruption, pursuing justice and productivity so can we.

 

Jan Oosthuizen

 

[1]https://www.thesouthafrican.com/land-expropriation-to-make-sa-a-garden-of-eden-ramaphosa/

[2]https://www.netwerk24.com/landbou/Nuus/afrika-is-gereed-vir-landbourevolusie-de-jager-20180612

[3]The role of agriculture in economics by Dr Philip Theunissen computus management building.

[4]Dr Arno van Niekerk, Senior lecturer/Economist, University of the Free State