Nantoni died just less than two months after she celebrated her 79th birthday.
ANC deputy president DD Mabuza has used the funeral of Gogo Nantoni Mthembu to express the urgent need for land return in South Africa.
He said people like Gogo Nantoni suffered all of their lives under white farmers, working the land and earning very little.
“Our suffering and journey as black people is the same,” Mabuza told mourners at the eMalahleni township of Ackerville on Saturday morning.
“And these sufferings were on the shoulders of women and especially those who were farmworkers used to work long hours and earned very little money but as little as it was they managed to fight for their rights and took care of their children,” Mabuza said.
“We thank all women for their sacrifices, their hard labour and for supporting us to grow and be where we are today,” he said.
“And that is the reason in the ANC we are saying land should return to its owners. Our mothers worked the land and earned little money but now we have come to the point where we are saying land should be expropriated,” the deputy president told mourners.
Born on 1 January 1939, Nantoni Mthembu was the mother of ANC Parliamentary chief whip Jackson Mthembu.
She died on 25 February 2018 at the age of 79 and according to her obituary, she worked on the Dewet and Schoongezicth farms outside eMalahleni in order for her and her mom as well as others of her family to have a place to stay.
“Women like Mama Mthembu,” Mabuza said, “toiled but were able to stay strong and gave birth to people like Jackson Mthembu and we thank her for that”.
He said while he was Premier of Mpumalanga he was able to close what used to be called ” farm schools” and built boarding schools.
A commission he appointed to investigate the lives of people living on farms in its report in September 2016 found the violations of human rights in the province’s farms, unequal access to basic services like electricity, water and housing and issues of security, healthcare, justice and illegal evictions.
Almost all political parties in Parliament a week ago supported a motion brought by the EFF to amend the Constitution to favour land expropriation without compensation except the DA, Freedom Front Plus, Cope and the ACDP.
Parliament will wait until 30 August 2018 for the Constitutional Review Committee which will look at the feasibility of expropriating land without compensation.
A land reform bill is available for public comment until 17 April 2017.
The bill will establish a new land commission that will address the South African land question.
Rural development and land reform minister Gugile Nkwinti says President Jacob Zuma’s land grab comments were “aspirational ideas” and can be considered in upcoming ANC policy conference but were not currently ANC policy.
Nkwinti said the ANC was still guided by the Constitution in its approach to land redistribution and that this is the direction which the new land reform bill will take.
“The Bill introduces a Land Commission because people who own land in South Africa must register with that Land Commission, so that we know who owns South Africa [and] that we can use that as a measure to determine the extent to which land is being redistributed,” he said in Parliament on 28 March 2017.
Zuma has called for land expropriation without compensation – a direct attack to the Willing Buyer, Willing Seller policy, saying that those who criticised him for saying land should be taken without compensating should go back to the ANC’s 2012 Manguang resolutions.
His critics have charged he was being a “populist”.
Zuma reportedly told an NEC meeting on 25 March 2017 i Irene, Gauteng: “It cannot be that we spoke about this thing in 2012, and when we point out that we failed to implement it, you talk about [it being] rhetoric.
“Are you saying the branches of the ANC did not apply their minds correctly?” he was reportedly quoted.
But Nkwinti’s department says doing this should not undermine the country’s Constitution.
It said once the bill has been passed, the Land Commission will look at the current people owning land in the country – their race, gender and nationality – and will seek to address it based on that.
Newly elected DA councillors have all signed commitments to end thecorruption of ANC leaders, bring service to the people and all of themwill strangle the government of the ANC in order to have all the landclaims processes in South Africa fast-tracked, its Mpumalanga leadersaid on Wednesday.
“Every applicant commits themselves to be a candidate and they arecouncillors now and there are requirements for that. First you commityourself to stopping corruption, ensuring better services for all andthat is based on our manifesto that as a party we are really committedto stopping corruption and bringing services to the people as well asaddressing unemployment,” provincial chairman James Masango told013NEWS on Wednesday.
“So, we will fast-track the land claims by taking that intoconsideration. But you see, the biggest problem now is that since theland claims were opened in 1998 a lot of people have not got thoseland and we always ask why and that’s because government doesn’t havethe money to give the land claimants [to buy and maintain the land].Money is squandered, so let’s end corruption first,” Masango said.
Masango said seeing skin colour will not work in South Africa and hisparty saw the problem as being the “corruption after corruption” ofofficials.
“Here in Mpumalanga I know a lot of people that have claimed land, askthem where is that land now and ask officials to answer. Very sheepishanswers,” he blasted.
Therefore his Mpumalanga councillors will now make sure that each andevery decision made by the ANC in government “is it a decision thataddresses unemployment, does that decision bring services to thepeople or does it end or create corruption?”
The party struggled to increase its voter support in Mpumalanga in the 2016 Local Government Election and suffered losses in some of the municipalities like Thembisile Hani and Nkomazi.
Two NGOs are heading to the Tshwane High Court to force government to respect the constitutional rights of people with regard to the air pollution being caused by Mpumalanga’s Sasol and Eskom power plants.