This post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds
On February 27, 2018, South Africa’s National Assembly or Parliament passed a motion to allow the government to expropriate land without compensation. The motion, which had been introduced by the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) political party, passed with a huge majority, 241-83, with support from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party and President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Now, the African National Congress will change South Africa’s Constitution to enable land grabs without compensation.
RT reports that in a televised address yesterday, July 31, 2018, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the ruling African National Congress would introduce a constitutional amendment in parliament, paving the way for land grabs without compensation.
Ramaphosa, a millionaire ex-businessman, prominent trade union leader and a close associate of Nelson Mandela, had vowed to return the lands owned by the white farmers since the 1600s to the country’s black population after he assumed office in February this year.
The land-grab-without-compensation proposal is viewed by the South African white minority as forceful expulsion that can incite violence against farmers. But Ramaphosa in March assured white citizens, who constitute roughly 9% of the total population, that the government would handle the controversial matter through “dialog, discussion, engagement, until we find good solutions that take our country forward. There is no reason for anyone of us to panic and start beating war drums,” and that nothing should prevent farming activities from continuing as normal.
However, many of the Boers, descendants of Dutch settlers in South Africa, do not take the government’s promises at face value, and are seeking asylum abroad from what they say is a surge in violence and government-fueled hostility against them.
Last month, Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton called on his government to provide emergency visas for South Africa’s white farmers, who are reportedly facing persecution at home. In response, the head of the South African opposition labeled Australia “a racist country” for granting refuge to white farmers.
Boers have also appealed to Russia, seeking to resettle farmers who no longer feel at home in South Africa. A delegation consisting of some 30 South African farming families arrived in Russia‘s farm belt Stavropol Region last month, asking the local authorities to consider resettling up to 15,000 Boers. The head of the delegation said moving “is a matter of life and death” for the Boers.
Stavropol Region’s Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights Vladimir Poluboyarenko told RT there is a plan in place to resettle up to 50 Boer families and potentially some 500, who would arrive to Stavropol with their own cattle.
There have been growing fears that the planned land expropriation will deal a blow to commercial farming in South Africa and might put it on the verge of a food production crisis, like the one that struck Zimbabwe when it unleashed a similar crackdown on white farmers in 1999-2000.