Published: Sat, March 03, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Take That, Colonizer: South Africa to Seize All White-Owned Land

Take That, Colonizer: South Africa to Seize All White-Owned Land

South Africa's parliament voted Tuesday to examine how to amend the constitution to allow land seizures without compensation, a move that resonates deeply in a nation where the white minority still controls much of the farmland.

The motion, brought by the EFF leader Julius Malema, was adopted with a vote of 241 in support, and 83 against.

Mr Malema said the time for "reconciliation is over".

Rural Affairs and Land Reform Deputy Minister Mcebisi Skwatsha said the ANC was committed to building an equal society.

He added, however, that people's dignity had to be restored by expropriation without compensating the criminals who had stolen the land.

Whites still own most of South Africa's land following centuries of brutal colonial dispossession.

The post-apartheid government has done little to help new black entrepreneurs in agriculture, and much of the land that has been purchased for redistribution on a "willing buyer, willing seller" basis has gone to the state rather than to black farmers.

Parliament's Constitutional Review Committee is now expected to report back to lawmakers on changes to section 25 of the Constitution by 30 August.

The ANC conference, however, stressed that land expropriation without compensation should be pursued without destabilizing the agricultural sector, endangering food security in the country, or undermining economic growth and job creation. President Ramaphosa has said that he would consult financial institutions on land reform.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) will only vote with the African National Congress (ANC) in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro if they put forward Mcebisi Jonas or someone similar in character as a mayoral candidate.

Despite arguments, the vote called out for ANC to redistribute lands as the pressure grows to gain support of the poorer black voters ahead of the election next year.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) opposed the motion, arguing that changes to Section 25 will undermine property rights and scare off potential investors. Agricultural economists Wandile Sihlobo and Johann Kirsten wrote last week: “With the benefit of hindsight, the Zimbabwean experience tells us that the notion of expropriation without compensation is a bad idea.

She said it was used to divert attention away from the ANC's failures with land reform, and was a "lie peddled by the ANC, who fears being outflanked on the left by the EFF".

Land expropriations would trigger legal challenges, said Ralph Mathekga, an independent political analyst. If you don't want it, you must go back to government and say, I am leaving this place and you can take that which belongs to you and the government will reallocate it to someone else.

Like this: