National Land Imbizo
27 May 2017
We, the landless people who are the rightful owners of this country, its wealth and the land – here today, in Soweto (at Mofolo Park) declare the following:
1. South Africa belongs to black people!
2. White people came here in 1652 and stole our land and made us their slaves.
3. The land and its wealth, everything underground, the oceans and the sky belong to black people.
4. All our sufferings, our poverty, the violence in the townships, in the squatter camps, and in our rural villages are caused fundamentally by the fact that we remain a landless people.
5. Without land there is no freedom or dignity.
6. All the land in the hands of white people is stolen property.
We note with anger that:
1. After twenty three years of democracy, only 35 000 white families own 80% of the land!
2. Blacks own only 3% of the JSE!
3. Racism is rife in South Africa!
4. Whites exploit, oppress and murder black people every day in the farms and the rural townships!
5. White monopoly capital which exploits our land and minerals has murdered our brothers in Marikana and has not paid reparations or accounted for their wrongdoings!
6. White monopoly capital mines illegally in South Africa (SA) – who gave De Beers, Lonmin and others the right to mine on stolen land?
7. When blacks mine they are called illegal, forced into unsafe conditions and condemned by white owned media as “Zama Zama” miners.
8. White monopoly capital murders the rightful owners of the land and wealth and calls them Zama Zamas.
9. We note that the courts don’t take racism seriously!
10. Blacks are being evicted every day from our homes and land by the white racist farmers on the farms; by white owned racist and corrupt banks; by the courts and sheriffs in the towns and townships; and by municipalities we vote for in squatter camps!
11. Because of landlessness we blacks are congested in the townships including in the backyards!
12. The government has up now not produced a plan to return our land and help stop our suffering!
13. Our government is buying land which was stolen from us through its “willing buyer, willing seller” policy.
14. It will take us more than 100 years to buy back only 30% of the land, if we follow the current pace of land delivery!
15. 8% of the land was bought back from whites at more than R50 billion since 1994!
We furthermore, declare that:
1. The post 1994 government has failed to return our land for the past 23 years!
2. The ANC must apologise for this, ask for pardon and take action now!
3. White people have not shown that they are sorry or that they acknowledge their sins for slavery, colonialism, apartheid and land theft!
4. White people have not acknowledged that the wealth, comfort and security that they enjoy today is from the direct oppression, exploitation and land dispossession of the black majority!
5. Whites have had 350 years to give back our land and they did not do so. Moreover, whites had twenty three years to say they are sorry and they did not say so!
6. Now, we no longer want dialogue with whites – we want our land back!
7. The biggest and most evil corruption is land theft – this is the mother of all corruption!
8. The crisis in the life of black people comes from historical land dispossession – we cannot heal if the land is not returned!
We note with sadness the following:
1. Our political leaders remain divided and not focused on the real issues affecting black people.
2. Most of our political leaders speak one thing and do the opposite.
3. Most of the political leaders are in the pockets of white monopoly capital.
4. President Zuma has called for Land Expropriation Without Compensation – instead of supporting this call, the land question has been made into a political football in parliament.
5. White owned media, the politicians captured by imperialism and white monopoly capital (both inside the ANC and the opposition) only pay lip service to the question of land return.
7. Politics are made to make blacks fight amongst themselves over nothing!
8. All black politicians in parliament, irrespective of political party affiliation, are landless people like the rest of us.
9. The talk of state capture and corruption is focused only on blacks.
We therefore ask the following questions:
1. Can a landless people play the games of politics amongst themselves?
2. What can be gained by fighting amongst ourselves when the country remains in white hands?
3. Why are these political parties and elders not supporting the call of President Zuma for land expropriation without compensation?
4. We ask the ANC, why do you say we must buy land which was stolen from us?
5. We ask the ANC further, why are you not listening to your own President?
These demands must be met by any means necessary!
1. “Land expropriation without compensation” must be made policy before the end of 2017!
2. Stop all evictions – from bond houses, from farms, from flats in the inner cities, from squatter camps NOW!
3. We want state owned banks in all the provinces by the end of 2017!
4. The Zama Zama miners must be regularised and given all the assistance they need!
5. Backyards Must Fall! All adult persons must be given land and subsidies for housing!
6. The value of mortgage bonded houses must be reduced to up to 50% because the land is free!
7. Those who have paid for land as part of the mortgage bond must be refunded!
8. Nationalisation of the mines must be realized so that we may benefit!
9. Workers must get a minimum wage of R12500.00 per month. The Marikana mine workers died for this!
10. All the schools must educate the learners about land dispossession and the struggle to regain our land and dignity!
11. Government must assist us to plant our own food!
12. A law must be made that clearly states that any white person found guilty of murdering or harming a black person must go to jail after which that person must lose his/her property and be deported to Europe!
Our Program of Action
We call on all those organisations that are not here and those that are present, to each send two representative to serve on the National Steering Committee for the return of the land!
What must parliament do?
1. We call upon parliament to amend section 25 of the Constitution to affect the policy of “land expropriation without compensation”, before the end of 2017!
2. The Steering Committee must meet all black political parties which are represented in parliament.
3. The Steering Committee must meet the ANC about these demands before their policy conference.
4 The Steering Committee must meet President Zuma as soon as possible.
5 The Steering Committee must visit President Mugabe to get wisdom and courage to fight for land!
What must the church do?
1. The colonial churches must repent and ask for forgiveness. The church which worked closely with the colonialists to take the land of black people must return the land to the people! In 2007, the churches under the South African Council of Churches (SACC) made a declaration to return the stolen land, they have still not done so!
2. The Steering Committee must demand a meeting with the SACC as soon as possible!
What must white people do?
White people are the direct beneficiaries of land theft from black people. Even those who today are not involved in mining or farming are direct beneficiaries of colonialism and apartheid. The schools they go to, the houses they live in, the wealth they have, all come from land theft and oppression of black people. No white person is not implicated or is not a beneficiary of racism – this includes those who are dead and even those who are not yet born.
Whites have a choice to continue with arrogance or they can decide to cooperate with blacks and return the stolen land. Whites must meet in their own land imbizo and resolve by when the land shall be returned to its rightful owners! The land imbizo of whites must happen before the end of 2017! We don’t want dialogue, we want land!
What must the landless do?
If the landless wait for politicians, for the church or whites to do something about land, then we shall wait forever. Its up to the landless and their organisations to take action on the ground so as to speed up all the processes to regain the lost land. When land was taken from us, there was no law, no parliament, no talks of two third majority – the whites just took our land through force. We have to regain our land by any means necessary!
1. The Steering Committee must work to establish a national land occupation program which must be launched on the 1st of January 2018! The night of the New Year, shall be the night of new things!
2. All the war veterans of the liberation movement must join and lead the struggle for land return through direct action. The veterans of the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA), the MKMVA and the Azanian National Liberation Army (AZANLA) must join hands with all those who seek the return of the land now!
3. The Steering Committee shall also meet these war veterans organisations within the next two months!
4. The Steering Committee must also work with the revolutionary High School learners and university students on the programme for land return through re-occupying our stolen land.
5. The Steering Committee must meet with the African Kings and Indigenous leaders (traditional leaders) on the Land Declaration and POA.
6. Every town and village must identify white owned productive land, and prepare to occupy it!
If we don’t take action nothing will change!
The bones of our ancestors are crying out for land. They are not resting in peace. The bones of Sikhukhune, Shaka, Nyabela, Hintsa, Moshweshwe, Cetshwayo, Nghunghunyane are calling for land now! The spirit of Bambatha, Sobukwe, Biko, Mantatise, Nzinga, Nehanda, Tsietsi Mashinini, Kgotso Seatlholo cry over the centuries across the African continent for land to be returned!
It is the land that gives us life and when we die, it’s the land that takes care of our bodies. Without land we are nothing! With land we are everything! That is why we must be black first through getting the land first!
Today here in Soweto we declare that for these commitments we shall fight side by side as comrades, sisters and brothers, as one united black people, until we get back the land!
Take back the land! Land or Death!
Delivered by Andile Mngxitama,
President of Black First Land First