Land Reform in South Africa :
Sowing Division and Cultivating Lies
by PD Lawton , 28 August 2018
There is currently gross misrepresentation by the Western media as to what is taking place in South Africa. What the ANC government plan to achieve by the expropriation of land without compensation is far from being a racially motivated land grab.
Within South Africa the media are being assisted by both left and right political elements who are creating mayhem in a country which is already struggling to fulfill its role in the New Paradigm and the BRICS association of nations.
Land being considered for expropriation includes urban land, land owned by mining conglomerites, land held under traditional trusts, state-owned land, military land, council owned land and any land that is currently lying idle and unproductive, as well as farm land. Farm land includes both arable, plantation and game farms .However, this fact is never reported.The media present South Africa`s land reform process as an attack on farms owned by white South Africans.
On the right, civil society organization, AfriForum, are plugging the international press with an extremely emotional narrative. Their claims are that the ANC are about to dispossess all white farmers.
On the left, the Economic Freedom Fighters are threatening to take farmland by force, Zimbabwe style. This organization is promising land to severely impoverished South Africans as a solution to their poverty.
Both elements are responsible for misrepresenting land expropriation without compensation and are being deliberately destabilizing.
Julius Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters, is mentored by the former British Ambassador to South Africa, Lord Robin Renwick. Malema’ s purpose since before his expulsion from the ANC,has always been to destroy it on behalf of the City of London. This is because the ANC is the only political body that has the will and capability of changing the course of history for all South Africans. Malema has been a major participant in the character assassination of former president Jacob Zuma,who has been the very first South African president in history to turn the tide on London’ s economic control over its former colony. Land reform is critical for righting the wrongs of the past , ending extreme wealth inequality by creating an inclusive economy and most importantly, dramatically increasing the country’ s productivity.
AfriForum are misrepresenting South African society. They are a civil society sponsored organization that claim to represent white minority interests. Their spokesman, Ernst Roets , applauds the City of London’ s IMF.
AfriForum constantly stir up trouble as in their most recent statement that they had been given a list of 190 farms that are to be expropriated. As stated by the government, that information is completely false as Parliament has yet to debate the issue.
The Western media, plugged by AfriForum and the EFF, routinely present the land issue as a dictatorial Mugabe style Marxist take-over with the white minority as the victims. They have called the land reform process a shambles. In fact this process has been undertaken efficiently and with an astonishing amount of democratic inclusivity. AfriForum are attempting at every turn to put a spanner in the works and diminish the government`s chances of success. While Julius Malema threatens a white genocide.
The South African Parliament have recently concluded an in-depth series of public hearings on the ammendment of Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for orderly expropriation of land without compensation.The Joint Constitutional Review Committee hearings were conducted by MP Vincent Smith, the Chair of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.
The public were invited to have their say. In an unprecedented response, over 700 000 citizens wrote in while tens of thousands attended the physical hearings that were held across the country. Such an unprecedented response shows how important this issue is and how strongly people feel about it.
Vincent Smith,who is an ANC member, co-chaired the hearings with members of parliament representative of all other political parties. He has acknowledged the gravity of this issue and the possible repercussions. He stated:
“I think that it is necessary that we don’t unnecessarily create panic ourselves, as MPs. That is why I’m glad that members of Parliament have today agreed that we will facilitate as opposed to agitate in the meetings. All people that participate must be assured that they will be safe, that they will be allowed to speak, regardless of their views.”
Vincent Smith undertook the public hearings with the explicit focus on three issues. As he stated:
“One, in the sense that we want to make sure, certainly I want to make sure, that the process is unchallengeable in law. Secondly, that members of Parliament work as a team and not as individual political parties. And thirdly, that I think South Africans of all walks of life, whether they’re land owners, workers, whether they’re bankers, whether they are normal South Africans, do not feel alienated and that imminent doom is about to befall them.We must always make sure that the process must ensure that security of tenure, that agricultural productivity, that all those things are not jeopardised by our process. So, we shouldn’t go about agitating for wrong reasons.”
Given the sensitive nature of this issue, the government have gone to great lengths to ensure that the process is undertaken as calmly as possible.
Smith has represented the view of the government that the land reform process must be run in a calm and lawful manner . And that the extreme views of opposing sides, those against and those for land expropriation, are addressed.
The intention of the government is to expropriate ‘ idle’ land in urban areas for residential purposes. The apartheid legacy created a spacial divide, leaving valuable urban areas privately owned. Urban land is desperately needed to house an ever increasing number of citizens, many of whom have jobs in the cities, living in informal settlements surrounding the capital cities of Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town. More than 10% of South Africans live in these malthusian conditions making this a land issue of great urgency! South Africa is one of the most, if not the most, unequal societies in the world where a super rich who live luxurious lifestyles co-exist along side families who live in shacks without the basic services of water , sanitation and electricity.
Emphasis is being placed on the need to make the land issue an opportunity to dramatically increase productivity.
South Africa’ s primary agricultural body, Agri SA , is working closely with the government.
In a recently issued statement the executive director of Agri SA, Omri van Zyl, said that Agri SA welcomes the ANC’ s commitments on agriculture and confirmed that the ANC has committed to protecting property rights and that no land grabs will be allowed. Van Zyl said of the recent meeting between the ANC deputy president David Mabuza and the commercial farmers` representative bodies namely, Agri SA and Agbiz that :
“This historic meeting sets a foundation for a lasting partnership with the aim to sustainably transform and grow agriculture. However‚ our focus will remain on negotiating for tangible benefits for producers.”
Agri SA have also stated that they are committed to helping ” with the roll-out of a pragmatic plan to grow the sector and assist black farmers.”
Agri SA have confirmed that the government are committed to the following :
No land grabs will be allowed. • The protection of productive agricultural land will remain a priority. • Optimising the use of fallow land in deep rural areas. • Property rights will remain a key priority in agrarian development. • Government is finalising an audit of state land for transfer to black farmers • Initiating production on 4 000 farms currently in government possession to unlock commercial value and create farming opportunities.
Agbiz Chairman , Francois Strydom, has reiterated the positive and co-operative relationship between the government and the farming sector. He said :
“Agriculture is asking for a collaborative framework for growth, similar to what the motor industry has achieved . All the players in agriculture are keen to take this process forward.”
Not only are Agri SA and Agbiz confident that land reform can increase the productivity of South Africa’ s farming , they are in full agreement with the government :
“All agreed that those factions who are purposefully polarising society with regards to land question, should be resisted “, as stated on the website of Agri SA.
Minister in the Presidency, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has been well received by the commercial agricultural sector. She is acting as an intermediary between farmers and the presidency and is playing a considerable role in relaying the anxieties held by many farmers.
Vincent Smith has stated that the government’ s main concern for land reform is the need for stability, “we must ensure stability, at the end of this exercise whatever it may be,the country must be more stable than it is today. And it can only be stable if the majority of South Africans feel they have a stake in this country. And therefore farmers, farm labourers must find a mechanism where they could share, work together, co-exist, and I am talking from an agricultural view.”
Contrary to what is presented to the Western public, South Africans are not at each other’ s throats over land reform. Theirs is a far more tolerant and integrated society than we are led to believe.
On a recent SABC broadcast where citizens were encouraged to call in and give their view on land reform , the general conscensus was encapsulated by a caller who said the following that :
” people who are using this consultative process to selfishly sow divisions either on a race issue or tribal land …how do we use this consultation to unite the nation towards a united program?”