January 25 2012 at 12:18am

Johannesburg – Land should be used in a caring and respectful way for present and future generations, the Southern African Catholic Bishop’s Conference (SACBC) said on Tuesday.

“Land is a source of human life. It is God’s gift to all of which we as human beings are responsible as custodians,” said SACBC justice and peace department land desk co-ordinator Philani Mkhize.

He was speaking at the launch of SACBC’s vision for land reform at the St John Vianney seminary in Waterkloof, Pretoria.

A paradigm shift was needed in the way land was viewed, with it being more than just a commodity, said Mkhize.

The SACBC’s vision was that all people, including those in rural areas, should benefit from a good quality of life. The rural economy should flourish and be important to the broader economy.

This would provide attractive opportunities for young people.

The SACBC said all people should have access to adequate land for housing, grazing, and cropping.

This should be accompanied by access to safe and affordable water, and other basic services such as electricity, sanitation, health and educational facilities.

While much progress had been made with land reform, it was important that secure land rights existed and that there were institutions to enforce those rights, Mkhize said.

The SACBC is a board of Catholic bishops within South Africa, Swaziland and Botswana. – Sapa