‘Land issue has to be addressed in order to attain complete freedom’

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Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi says though the attainment of political freedom in South Africa was an important milestone, the land question needs to be addressed in order to attain complete freedom.

This has emerged at the public conversation he held as part of launching his new book, ‘The Land Is Ours’ at the Steve Biko Centre in King William’s Town.

Ngcukaitobi emphasised the importance of improving the living conditions of black people in order to improve their dignity 24 years into democracy.

“The key aspect that defines why black people are not able to live in dignity is inequality and the basic cause of inequality is inability to access land. So, the question of dispossession is intricately linked to the question of total freedom. So, until that issue is resolved that freedom is incomplete. But that’s no basis to criticise the extent to which we have gone as black people. My point is that freedom has partially being achieved, but it is incomplete until the land question is resolved.”

Ngcukaitobi says the authorities should also do an introspection to establish why people have to protest to get their rights.

“What we should be focusing on is the underlying cause behind the protests because if we focus on the protest and the accesses there’s a great risk that the reaction will be to diminish the ability to protest. In the long term that’s more dangerous for democracy than addressing the underlying structural causes. So we can convert the question and ask it backwards: Why is the government unable to deliver basic things like water? Why is it unable to deliver toilets and schools, things that should be utter most in their imagination of the new South Africa?

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