The SACBC Justice and Peace works, among other things, to strengthen Church’s activism for land justice. To this end, it has been organising consultations on rural poor and land reforms for the Catholic bishops, the religious and the priests. The consultations also included interaction with the small scale producers, the government and the social movements.
Thus far 3 such consultations have been held. In the one that was held in 2011, an idea to develop a vision for the Catholic Church on land reform in South Africa was discussed. The outcome was the launch of such vision in 2012. It was on the basis of the same vision that, Minister Nkwinti attended our consultation in 2012 and invited the Church to participate alongside other social partners, in NAREG (a reference group that the minister had established to consider the submissions to the Green Paper and make recommendations on the various aspects of the new land policy that was being developed).
In 2013, once again Justice and Peace organised another land consultation to coincide with the centenary of the commemoration of 1913 Native Land Act. The aim was to create a platform for the bishops, the priests, the religious, together with the government and the social movements, to engage and establish a common understanding about the legacy of this law, and assess programmes in place to deal with it.
As a result of these consultations, the Catholic Church now has a vision for land reform in South Africa, on the basis of which SACBC Justice and Peace will continue to encourage Church leaders to speak out publicly about land injustices. The vision also enables the justice and peace groups the dioceses and parishes to act in solidarity with the landless poor in their respective areas.