DURBAN Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda has challenged those who oppose eThekwini Municipality’s controversial land liberation strategy, which aims to allocate land to blacks, to take their battle to court.
Kaunda said the municipality was willing to defend its position on the proactive land release strategy policy in court, saying the policy was necessary to uplift black communities and transform the country’s economy.
The policy gives priority to blacks in the purchase of land identified by the city as surplus land. Under the policy, the city would identify excess land that it would not use for development and instead sell it to the designated group.
The goal is to benefit black businesses and reduce the wait time for businesses and organizations looking to acquire city land.
Previous reports on the policy have said the proactive strategy says the allocation should go to black-owned businesses, including young people, women, people with disabilities and veterans.
The city believes that proactive land release would help it meet its development goals and boost black economic activity and empowerment.
Yesterday, opposition parties voiced concerns at the executive committee meeting, calling for the removal of the clause that gives priority to blacks, lest it fuel tensions in communities and n ‘further worsens already fragile race relations.
Kaunda said anyone who suggested the policy implementation was wrong was seeking to maintain the status quo that excludes black people from the economy.
“People can sue us if they wish, we will defend why this is necessary,” Kaunda said, adding that the ANC had a duty to implement policies that would lead to the transformation of the economy.
Kaunda said inserting this clause into policy was necessary for transformation and to uplift those who were still excluded from the economy, who were the majority of the country. Explaining the need for the policy, the city previously said the policy was necessary as black people continue to be excluded from the real estate industry. He said less than 10% of the real estate sector, which has been recorded as worth around 5.8 trillion rand, can be defined as a “black owner”.
IFP adviser Mdu Nkosi said that in light of what happened during the riots and the racial tensions that arose, the city should consider removing this barrier to avoid escalating the situation. .
“Can we cut that part of the race, we know what happened at eThekwini with some groups unable to stay together,” he said.
This was supported by DA adviser Nicole Graham, who said the clause seeks to divide people on the basis of race.
“Releasing the land only to black South Africans is not morally justifiable,” adding that the land should be ceded to anyone in the city who can pay for it. She said the focus should be on growing the economy, so that there is equal participation of all residents of the city.
“Continuing to divide people on the basis of race is problematic, it is racial bait, it fuels division.”