South Africa’s new president Cyril Ramaphosa—widely being hailed as Africa’s new savior by international media—has vowed to seize land belonging to white farmers without compensation and hand it over to blacks—even though he has admitted that land already given to blacks for the purpose of farming is “lying derelict.”
According to reports in the South African media, Ramaphosa said that the policy of land seizure without compensation was taken by the ANC at its 54th Congress, where he was elected ANC President.
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Referring to the uncompensated land grab as “land redistribution“, the new President has warned white farmers that their private property now belongs to the government.
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“We will accelerate our land redistribution program not only to redress a grave historical injustice, but also to bring more producers into the agricultural sector and to make more land available for cultivation,” Ramaphosa said during his maiden State of the Nation Address in Parliament last Friday.
“We will pursue a comprehensive approach that makes effective use of all the mechanisms at our disposal. Guided by the resolutions of the 54th National Conference of the governing party, this approach will include the expropriation of land without compensation,” he said.
Earlier, Ramaphosa told News24 that he would like a study of farms that have already been seized and redistributed to black South Africans since 1994.
“The real issue, though, is that most of the redistributed land is lying derelict at the moment,” he said. “It’s not being worked.”
The new South African president’s policy of land seizure mirrors neighboring Zimbabwe’s failed land redistribution scheme.
In the year 2000, former president Robert Mugabe’s government seized large swathes of land from white farmers – a move that triggered a catastrophic downturn in the economy and plunged a nation once known as “Africa’s bread basket” into famine.
Zimbabwe is now begging the white farmers they forcibly evicted to return and reclaim their farms, as the southern African nation’s economy continues to decline.
According to The Telegraph, Minister of Lands Douglas Mombeshora said provincial leaders had been tasked to come up with names of white farmers they wanted to remain on their farms. The farms should be “of strategic economic importance”.
“We have asked provinces to give us the names of white farmers they want to remain on farms so that we can give them security of tenure documents to enable them to plan their operations properly,” Mombeshora said.
At least 4,000 white commercial farmers were evicted from their farms. The land seizures were often violent, claiming the lives of several white farmers during clashes with government forces.
Now South Africa, already teetering on the brink of a race war, is set to follow in Zimbabwe’s doomed footsteps.
The president’s land seizure policy has caused outrage among white landowners, with the chairman of a national group for Afrikaans-speaking farmers warning the new law will be “a declaration of war.”
“We are ready to fight back,” said Andries Breytenbach, the group’s chairman. “We need urgent mediation between us and the government. If this starts, it will turn into a racial war which we want to prevent.”