Current SituationThe forestry sector in South Africa is a huge multinational industry that exports its products to over 100 countries around the world. The forestry companies are unquestionably the largest land users in South Africa. The plantations of SAPPI, MONDI and other smaller forestry companies cover more than a million hectares of land throughout South Africa.
Land that lawfully belongs to the people, but has somehow landed up in the hands of these giant multinational corporations. They claim that this is either by title, which means ownership, or by lease. The question is how exactly was this sale and title deed structured, where did the money come from originally to buy all this land, and who had the authority to sell the land that belongs to the people to these companies in the first place.
These companies produce a huge amount of wood, paper, cellulose and other products, most of which are exported for the benefit of the international shareholders, while most of our people cannot afford the wood or paper that is produced and the people have absolutely no benefit from the use of our land. Most of the plantations are restricted areas to ordinary people.
SAPPI has over 35 million tons of timber plantations, while the people cannot afford the wood to build homes. SAPPI boast that they make enough paper every day to go around the equator four times. It is the leading producer in the world of fine paper for glossy magazines, annual reports and other high end products, raking in billions in profits for the shareholders, while our children cannot afford simple writing books to take to school.
Mondi claim to own 307,000 hectares of plantations and manage one of the largest Forestry Stewardship FSC™-certified plantation units in the world. The internationally recognised FSC™ accreditation means that the company’s plantations are managed in a responsible and sustainable manner. These are all very nicely constructed statements by corporations, but what exactly is the benefit of all of this, to the people of our country who have been deprived of land?
On a daily basis homeless people without anywhere to live are being evicted from so called government land while these corporations are given all the protection they require. This is a perfect example how our legal system is not written to bring justice to the people, but rather to protect the needs of corporations. The rights of the corporation are placed above the rights of human beings. This has become one of the great tragedies in South Africa as it is in the rest of the world.
The one thing that all these trees need in vast quantities is water. Mainly because the majority of trees planted by the forestry corporations are exotic trees like pine and blue gum. And so the trees in all of these plantations that cover over a million hectares use up unthinkable amounts of water, on a daily basis, while millions of people across our land are denied access to water by our servants, the government.
Does this sound like a fair dispensation to you? NO! It is highly unjust and unconstitutional.
Many environmentalists have shown how bad these massive plantations are for the ecosystems and propose that there are much better ways to grow trees and wood in harmony with nature while enhancing the growth of trees for human consumption.
The sad thing is that compared to the large tracts of land that forestry occupies, the entire forestry sector only employs about 20,000 people. This is completely out of balance with the amount of land they use. The bottom line is that this situation needs to be corrected.
UBUNTU Plan of Action
- Forestry is an exciting sector of society that needs to generate huge benefit for the people of South Africa everywhere.
- We stress the word benefit and NOT profit and NOT benefits to corporations and their international shareholders at the expense of the people.
- Since the land belongs to the people, all forestry activity must be for the benefit of the people and only the people.
- Forestry should be one of the great providers of work/activity (Labour of Love) to the people of South Africa in many diverse sectors of society including environmental management, wood, paper, food, clothing, and more.
- We anticipate that forestry will involve more than 200,000 people constantly managing and planning for the current and future needs of the people.
- Forestry must provide all the wood required by the people in the building of homes, furniture and other activities and products on a large scale.
- Every town or community will be provided with as much wood as it needs for the activity in the community and the continued development of that community.
- Wood will be used on a much larger scale by the people because it will be freely provided to the people.
- This will result in new products being made from wood while today it is not affordable or economically viable.
- Artists, craftsmen, artisans, designers, architects and more, will use wood on a much larger scale.
- People everywhere will be encouraged to use wood as opposed to other synthetic materials that are not eco-friendly.
- New and more sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives will be explored for the manufacturing paper. (Like hemp for example)
- This sector will provide all the paper and other paper based products needed by the people in all parts of South Africa.
- Just like wood, the paper and related products will be monitored and manufactured based on the needs of the people and every aspect of our society.
- Because communities will no longer be based on the creation of profit but rather the provision for the needs of the people and the community, it will be much easier to predict how much wood each community will require for their continued activity.
- There will be a close relationship between each community and the foresters that provide them with the wood and timber they need.
- The needs of the people must be assessed and long-term plans must be maintained to provide all the needs by means of new sustainable and eco-friendly methods.
- Scientists will constantly develop new and more practical solutions to meet the needs of the people – not the needs of corporations.
- Forestry must become environmentally friendly and ecologically sustainable.
- New solutions will be found by our scientist for the pollution caused by the paper mills and associated industries because money will not stand in the way of progress.
- In most instances the solutions are simple, but in today’s economy are not financially viable – therefore we go on polluting our world.
- Ecological experts will constantly monitor and improve the management and expansion of the forestry sector to keep up with the needs of the people.
- The aim of this sector is to provide for the people and the development of our country and not create profits for foreign shareholders at the expense of the people.
- There will be no exporting of any wood or paper or other products associated with forestry – unless all the needs of the people have been met.
- Any income or benefits generated from exporting of forestry related products will belong to the people.
- The continued export of forestry related products and other natural resources that belong to the people is a very sensitive issue and will be dealt with under the various sectors.
- In general – the philosophy of the UBUNTU Party is to move away from the use of money in a greedy and money driven society – towards a people driven society where money has no value. Therefore the concept of exporting our natural resources will make no sense at all. In fact it would be a crime against the people to try to sell, export or deprive the people of what belongs to them.
- The expression JOBS; WORK; CAREER; etc, will be redefined.
- In the UBUNTU community there are no jobs or work or careers. We call it Labour Of Love – since the people choose to do what they are good at or passionate about – they use their God-given talents or acquired skills for the greater benefit of all of the people in the community. Everybody becomes a contributor for the greater good. And this is why communities will thrive – because there is absolutely no need for money and money can no longer be used as a hurdle to human progress.