Amandla 89: Crisis failed agrarian reform

by Sep 29, 2023All Articles, Amandla 89

The feature of this issue asks what has happened on the land over the last 30 years. We begin by hearing from small-scale farmer Norah Mlondobozi as she recounts why she joined the Rural Women’s Assembly, and all the obstacles she has faced. The local chief has laid claim to her farm with the intention of renting it to a commercial farmer, despite the fact that it is state land and he has no jurisdiction over it. And the Department of Agriculture stands by and lets it happen.

The feature has two articles on the broad questions of the political economy of land, by Mazibuko Jara and Ben Cousins. They both conclude that the situation on the land has worsened over the last 30 years, with the ANC implementing a neoliberal strategy. This privileges commercial farmers, including big corporations, at the expense of small-scale farmers. Stephen Greenberg, in an article on the commercial farming sector, agrees. Finally there is a topical article on the Ingonyama Trust, which controls millions of hectares of land in KZN and is looking for ways to monetise that, for the benefit of the king.

Our moment of history in this issue is a commemoration of 50 years since the coup in Chile which toppled the socialist government of Salvador Allende, and installed the dictatorship of General Pinochet. René Rojas rejects the arguments that the Allende government was either too compromising or too militant. He argues that both these arguments misunderstand the task and actions of that government, and that there was a narrow path that might have prevented the consolidation of the decisive, right-wing bloc.

In a series of articles on contemporary South African issues, Tony Ehrenreich from Cosatu looks at the recent taxi strike in Cape Town and argues for a user-friendly transport system to deal with the geographical legacy of apartheid spatial planning. Nteboheng Phakisi and David van Wyk, from Bench Marks Foundation, look at the roots of zama zamas in the regional migrant labour system, the decline of the industry and the failure to regulate small-scale mining. And Trevor Sacks continues the story of the new Amazon building in Cape Town and how its development has ridden roughshod over a heritage site of great historical importance.

In our political analysis section, Andile Zulu looks at the EFF, observing that they are a significant player on the political scene, but that they are on the wrong path in resting on race, rather than class, as the primary issue in this country.

In the international section, one of our regular correspondents, Au Loong Yu, writes on the recent resurgence of opposition to the government, beginning with action against its Covid policy. And Rachel Dubale gives us an insight into what is happening in Ethiopia since the agreement in Pretoria at the end of last year. Regional autonomy remains a key issue, now for the Amhara people as it was in Tigray.

Finally we have more poetry from the Botsotso collective and the second episode of our new comic strip, The Reluctant President, in which he muses about how he has escaped any adverse consequences for possession of the money in the sofa.

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Amandla Issue #89