(Johannesburg, 16th September 2011) – The Landless People´s Movement of South Africa, a social movement of rural people and people living in shack settlements in cities, announces the revival of the mass struggle for land and agrarian reform, after a moment of apparent silence.
The movement announced this intention in a press conference held in Johannesburg on the 16th September.
As the situation of rural and urban poor and the state of land and agrarian reform is not showing significant changes in South Africa, LPM decides to carry out direct and concrete actions in order to reclaim land and social justice.
According to Africa Mthombeni, LPM chairperson, in the last years the movement has seen massive poverty both in rural and urban areas, as the redistribution of wealth and public resource has been made unfairly, benefiting few people in South Africa.
“We will not remain peaceful, silent and hoping that things will fall from the sky. We will have to act. One of the things we will do, is considering to encourage land occupation”, announces Edwin Mohlahlo LPM Secretary General, who added “we can not have new apartheid in South Africa. The land distribution has been characterized by corruption and nepotism. So, the land occupation program might be the answer”.
“In my province rural people applied to get land in 2006 but there is nothing coming from the Government, up to now. They (the Government) just call us to the meetings but we never get support”, said Tandiwe Makinane LPM member in Easter Cape.
Green paper on Land Reform is insignificant
LPM says that the 2011 green paper on Land Reform does not make a fundamental break with market-based land reform. It represents a backward step for the landless people in South Africa as it even legitimizes dispossession.
For example, it talks about Food Sovereignty, without defining it. One of the pillars of Food Sovereignty is that the landless, small-scale farmers are the most important actors in the production and have the right to define their own food, agriculture and livestock systems in opposition to Industrial Agriculture, which is the priority of the South African Government.
Even if it is a good step, the Green Paper intends to integrate land reform on the Industrial Agriculture system, just to accommodate agribusiness interests.
LPM calls all landless, small scale farmers, rural and urban poor for mobilization on a mass scale to force changes in order to achieve genuine agrarian reform, agro-ecology production and a food system based on the needs of the people.
Climate Change and COP 17
The Landless Peoples Movement and La Via Campesina are mobilizing for the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that will take place in Durban, South Africa, from 28 November to 9 December 2011.
As peasants, small holders and family farmers, who today produce the vast majority of food consumed on this planet, members of the LPM as well as small scale farmers of the world are being placed in danger, as temperatures rise, planting dates become unpredictable and there are ever more severe droughts, hurricanes and monsoons.
Yet landless and peasants also offer the most important, clear and scientifically-proven solutions to climate change through localized agroecological production of food by small holder farmers under the Food Sovereignty paradigm.
LPM is a member of the International Movement of Peasant and rural people, La Via Campesina (LVC). The goal of LVC is to bring change in the countryside, that improves livelihoods enhances local production for local consumption. It also opens up democratic spaces that empower the people of the land with a great role, position and stake in decision-making on issues that have an impact on their lives.