South Africa Plan to Seize Land from White Farmers

Introduction — Aug 3, 2018

Julius Malema. Click to enlarge

Julius Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters party has made land reform a central part of his election campaign. Click to enlarge

This introduction is necessary to dispel a few popular myths about South Africa. The country’s original inhabitants were the San and Khoekhoe who were quite distinct from today’s Black South Africans. The San and Khoekhoe were largely hunter gatherers and nomadic herders who did not cultivate the land.
Today the descendents of South Africa’s indigenous people make up no more than 1 percent of the population and are referred to derisively — by both Blacks and Whites — as “Bushmen”. They reside largely in the northern Cape
The bulk of South Africa’s population today is descended from migrants. White South Africans who arrived from Europe and Black South Africans most of whom are descended from the Xhosa, who migrated from further north in Africa; while the Zulu are thought to have originated in the Congo region and the Sotho people, have their own kingdom in the eastern highlands.
The Zulus entered the Kwa Zulu Natal around 1500A.D., while the Xhosa were already established in the eastern Cape when Dutch settlers began arriving in the mid 18th century.
In other words South Africa’s original inhabitants, the country’s indigenous people were effectively sidelined by waves of migrants from further north in Africa and Europe. Consequently it’s a mistake to think that today’s Black South Africans have any historical right to claim farmland currently being cultivated by White farmers.
However, that’s not what Julius Malema would have you believe. The leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters party has made “land reform” a central policy. The South African government proposals for “land reform” are seen as a response to Malema’s calls for a redistribution of farmland.
If this happens it will amount to a land grab and unless South Africans are careful they could end up heading down the same disastrous road as Zimbabwe. Ed.

South Africa Plan to Seize Land from White Farmers

Reuters, AFP and Julian Robinson for Mail Online — Aug 3, 2018

South Africa‘s white farmers have blasted the government’s decision to endorse constitutional changes in order to speed up the redistribution of white-owned land to the country’s poor black majority as ‘catastrophic.’

On Tuesday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa said his ruling African National Congress party will push ahead with the amendment to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

More than two decades after the end of apartheid, whites still own most of South Africa’s land and ownership remains a highly emotive subject.

Investors said Ramaphosa’s speech was aimed at winning political points ahead of an election in mid-2019.

But experts have claimed the move will lead to dire consequences for the country akin to those suffered in Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

AfriForum, an organisation that mostly represents white South Africans on issues like affirmative action, said in a statement that land expropriation without compensation would have ‘catastrophic results … like in Venezuela and Zimbabwe’.

‘History teaches us that international investors, regardless of what AfriForum or anyone else says, are unwilling to invest in a country where property rights are not protected,’ AfriForum’s Chief Executive Kallie Kriel said.

Ian Cameron, also with AfriForum, said the move will lead to anarchy and cause the murder rate to spike to between 21,000 and 22,000 this year.

‘We’re really heading for a state of anarchy if something doesn’t change drastically,’ he said, according to the Daily Star.

He added: ‘There are places where the police simply refuse to act.

‘They don’t know the law well enough or refuse to apply it to logical reasoning when it comes to defending people’s property rights.’

Agri SA, a South African agricultural industry association, added that the move could lead to food shortages.

‘South Africa needs more black farmers and black farms. Constitutional amendments – and even worst-case expropriation without compensation – may make for good electioneering but it doesn’t make more black farmers,’ Dan Kriek, President of Agri SA, said.

‘Agrarian reform can only happen successfully working hand in hand, in partnership, with the private sector’ Omri van Zyl, the executive Director of Agri SA, added.

‘We have seen this movie play out all over world – Venezuela, Russia – the promise for emerging farmers of tools, fertilizer, seeds and extension services are superficial – many have promised this as election ploys– and yet the outcome is always catastrophic for agriculture and food security.

‘This is a populist move from the ANC that will lead to an economic downgrade – massive capital exodus and a contagion effect of all property and intellectual property classes.’

Analysts at investment giant Old Mutual said the president was aiming to control the narrative around land reform, which has so far been dominated by the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, before the election.

‘It could be a very clever chess move,’ Old Mutual Investment Group’s managing director Khaya Gobodo said.

He added that Ramaphosa was trying to reduce the possibility of negative outcome from the land expropriation exercise by clearly staking out ANC’s plan on the matter.

White farmers control 73 percent of arable areas and it is widely understood to be that land which could be forcibly seized and transferred to the previously disadvantaged.

‘It has become patently clear that our people want the constitution to be more explicit about expropriation of land without compensation,’ he said in a televised address.

‘The (ruling) ANC will, through the parliamentary process, finalise a proposed amendment to the constitution that outlines more clearly the conditions under which expropriation of land without compensation can be effected,’ he added, vowing the change would ‘unlock economic growth’.

The issue of whether to take land without compensating current owners is by far the most divisive and emotive issue facing modern South Africa with critics drawing parallels with Zimbabwe’s disastrous reforms.

Until now the government has pursued a policy of ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ to enable land transfer.

But in February lawmakers voted to establish a commission charged with rewriting the constitution to allow for forcible land transfers without compensation.

Observers have suggested constitutional reform is a ploy by the African National Congress (ANC), which has faced political pressure from the radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, to win votes in elections due next year.

‘The intention of this proposed amendment is to promote redress, advance economic development and increase agricultural production and food security,’ said Ramaphosa.

He has previously endorsed land reform on the condition that it should not hurt agricultural production or economic output.

The ANC alone does not have the two-thirds parliamentary majority required to amend the constitution but would be able to pass changes with the support of the EFF.