South Africa: Landgrabs and Scorched Earth

A reader sent a link to this article about an example of landgrabbing occurring in South Africa, from the Platinum Weekly Newspaper – The Scorched Earth Policy of Landgrabbing.

In Northam, a group of approximately 30 men and women who don’t want to wait their turn, decided to lay claim to a farm in Koedoesdoorn, about 1 kilometre outside of Northam on Sunday 5 August. They planted their flags and demarcated the land they wanted. They also set fire to the surrounds.

Soon the fire engulfed everything in its path. The wicked August winds helped the fire, which was more than two stories high at some places to jump the fence to two neighbouring farms, farm Meerkat and portion 17 of farm De Put. Water pipes and electric cables leading to these farms were destroyed in the process.

The community who immediately came to help fight the fire, were stunned to find illegal landgrabbers on the piece of land. They were met with mockery and sarcasm. Some of the landgrabbers went out of their way to provoke community members, cursing, shouting and showing signs as they were trying to prevent a catastrophy.

Having a lot to deal with, the community members did not have time to respond to the landgrabbers. They just did what they came to do… trying to stop the fire from spreading. They were able to save two farm houses from burning to the ground.

However, the game and other farm animals on the three farms were not so fortunate. Over 500 hectares were laid to waste leaving a gloomy picture of dead animals among the ashes. Most of the burnt animal carcasses were found at the edges of the high game fences where they unsuccessfully tried to escape.

The few animals that somehow managed to live through this fiery ordeal are now left without any food or water. The water of all the different small natural dams dried up and the farmers would now have to cart water and fodder to the few surviving animals.

Seven suspects were arrested by the police, led by lieutenant colonel Ngoepe.
South African farmers face a dark, depressing and uncertain future.

Click here to read the whole story at Platinum Weekly.

SA President: Change constitution to Legalize Expropriation of White Farmers’ Land

In South African news

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said the ruling African National Congress must initiate a parliamentary process to enshrine in the constitution a proposed amendment, paving the way for land grabs without compensation.

Ramaphosa, who 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, said on Tuesday that the ANC would introduce a constitutional amendment in parliament.

“The ANC will through the parliamentary process finalize the proposed amendment to the constitution that outlines more clearly the conditions under which expropriation of land without compensation can be effected,” Ramaphosa, a prominent trade union leader and a close associate of Nelson Mandela, said in a televised address on Tuesday.

The millionaire ex-businessman argued that “it has become pertinently clear that our people want the constitution to be more explicit” about the proposal, which is viewed by the South African white minority as forceful expulsion that can incite violence against farmers.

There have been growing fears that the planned expropriation will deal a blow to commercial farming in the country 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.

Promoting his plan to boost land redistribution in March, Ramaphosa sought to assure white citizens, who constitute roughly nine percent 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,” he said at the time, noting 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, instead seeking asylum abroad from what they say is a surge in violence and government-fueled hostility against them…

Simon Roche of Suidlanders responded heatedly during an expropriation meeting.

Simon Roche attended one of the land expropriation hearings in South Africa to represent the Suidlanders point of view. It definitely wasn’t what the people are used to hearing at these hearings. Simon calls a ‘spade a spade’ in a powerful presentation and clearly points out that the process of expropriation will go ahead as planned by the ANC government and that the expectations of the masses created by them is not going away and that white people or others that oppose it should accept this. He accuses the chairperson and his fellow members of treachery and calls them all traitors who are misleading the constituency and points out facts that there is not enough viable land to meet these expectations.

 

Related:

Platinum Weekly: The scorched earth policy of land grabbing