South Africa’s new president has vowed to pursue the same course as Zimbabwean tyrant Robert Mugabe, expropriating land from white farmers without compensation.
Cyril Ramaphosa, who replaced Jacob Zuma after years of corruption scandals finally forced the 75-year-old from office, was cheered in the South African parliament as he pledged to “accelerate our land distribution programme … to redress a grave historical injustice [and] make more land available to our people for cultivation.”
Ramaphosa’s Marxist-leaning African National Congress (ANC) has taken its lead on this issue from the hardline Economic Freedom Fighters led by Julius Malema, a former head of the ANC’s youth wing.
“President, you mentioned expropriation of land without compensation, and we’re all agreed, that actually that was the highest applause you got,” Malema remarked in his response to the speech, issuing a warning to the leader of the opposition.
“I want to warn you … that’s a fundamental issue which is going to make us fight with you, because anyone opposed to expropriation of land without compensation is the enemy of our people, and such a person will be dealt with.”
“Outright Act of Terror” – South Africa's mainly white farmers protest wave of murders; 2017 death toll hits 74 https://t.co/zyk1g1zzxK
— Jack Montgomery ن (@JackBMontgomery) October 31, 2017
Ramaphosa, who will have to change the constitution in order to make the expropriations legal, has insisted he will not allow the “smash-and-grab interventions” which took place in Zimbabwe, where armed mobs simply showed up at white-owned farmhouses and either drove out the occupants or murdered them, without legal sanction.
How the president intends to strip landowners of their property without violence remains to be seen, but the consequences of expropriation for South Africa’s northern neighbour were dire.
— AfriForum (@afriforum) October 25, 2017
The number of white farmers in South Africa has already been dwindling for many years, largely as a result of the regular attacks on their homesteads which have left hundreds dead since 1998.
While completely accurate statistics are hard to come by due to the authorities refusing to compile them, farming in South Africa is by some measures the most dangerous occupation in the world outside a war zone.
Landless, working-class whites fare little better, with laws designed to empower the black majority in the workplace seeing them deprioritised for jobs, and hundreds of thousands forced to live on charity in squatter camps.