Next week trade union federation, and ruling alliance partner, Cosatu will hold its 13th national congress, to decide on its approach to upcoming national elections and chart its course for the next three years.

In preparation, Cosatu this week released discussion documents that outline positions on everything from how the ruling alliance should be reconfigured to its belief that South Africa should reconsider relations with Saudi Arabia because of "the US/Saudi Arabia war on Yemen".

The documents also deal at some length with issues of land reform. Here are some of the highlights.

See also: 9 Cosatu priorities for the 2019 election, including banning private hospitals and a 50% tax on companies

Game parks should pay higher taxes. 

A game drive in the privately-owned Sabi Sands game reserve in Mpumalanga, in 2015. (Getty)

Cosatu says land converted into game parks serve "mainly for the pleasure of the rich and tourists".

Such parks "must pay higher taxes to the state and surrounding communities," the federation holds.

It has not yet specified how high those taxes should be, or how payments to surrounding communities should be channeled.

Land owned by white people and foreigners should be converted to leaseholds, without compensation.


Foreigners have bought "farms, property along the coast and prime land in metropolitan areas", Cosatu says, but this can be reversed.

"Foreigners should only use land through leases and this can be changed without attracting compensation," it says.

Elsewhere it proposes the same solution for "addressing private land ownership by white people", again reiterating that doing so "does not require compensation".

Cosatu also suggest that because land is common property, it should belong to all – but stops short of saying freehold titles should be abolished entirely.

Britain and "colonial beneficiaries" that do not lose their land should pay reparations and levies.


Cosatu believes a fund should be set up to support the beneficiaries of land reform technically and financially – and it has some ideas where that money should come from.

"[The] South African government must start demanding compensation from among others the British government and all companies that benefitted under colonialism and apartheid."

It also says "colonial beneficiaries" that do not lose their land should be made to pay "compensation levies".

It is not clear if these levies would still apply if freehold land is converted to leaseholds.

Property caps for foreigners, and no farms or game reserves for them.

(Mlungisi Louw)

Land should be taken away from those "with excess land", Cosatu says, but the process must also create a legal cap on the amount of land foreigners can own.

That law should also "prohibit foreigners from owning certain land such as farm land and game reserves".

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