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Land Grabs: Perpetuation of Apartheid Spatial Planning

Dusty Rhodes is a senior manager at Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta)
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I am quite concerned, to put it mildly, about the recent land grabs in Kimberley by the majority of our people. I wish to strongly argue, without any fear or favour whatsoever, that land grabs in our townships and surrounding suburbs perpetuate apartheid spatial planning. Unfortunately, our people and so called leadership are the chief protagonists of this trajectory.

Simply put, land grabs in their current form, continues to condemn our people to the periphery of our city.

Our Government, for the past 25 years, is the main reprobate in this regard. It has spectacularly failed to reverse the impact of apartheid spatial planning through key programmes such as housing delivery and restitution.

Please do not misunderstand my problem statement and assertion. I agree that land redistribution is quite key to our real liberation. We will never be truly liberated until all our land is unconditionally returned. Without land redistribution, Economic Freedom is an idyll!

Structured land release is the basis for our quiddity. Nothing else matters more!

I therefore wish to make the following submission (I am not encouraging land grabs at all but I support structured rapid land release programmes):

1. Suitably located land, in close proximity to work opportunities and amenities, with access to basic services such as bulk infrastructure, engineering services, water and sanitation is key;

2. It therefore renders erratic and sporadic land grabs counter revolutionary and grossly irresponsible.

3. Opportunism by the middle class that seeks to benefit from the struggles of the poor should be condemned with the contempt it deserves. This tendency by people who fail to prioritize property ownership over lavish life styles is an unnecessary and unwelcome burden on the state.

By Dusty Rhodes

Dusty Rhodes is a senior manager at Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta)