Brexiteer MP Calls on PM May to Oppose Racist Land Grabs in South Africa

South Africa
MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images

Brexiteer MP Andrew Bridgen called on Theresa May to oppose the South African government’s plans to seize land from white farmers during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

“The Prime Minister was completely correct to castigate the [Labour Party] for their deeply flawed plan to snatch shares in private companies,” the Tory backbencher began.

“So will she join me in also condemning the South African parliament, who are currently taking powers to seize land from their own citizens without compensation, and solely based on the colour of their skin?

“Mr Speaker this is not only wrong, it is also risking putting another African country from a breadbasket to a basket case”, he concluded — likely referring to the experience of neighbouring Zimbabwe, where agriculture collapsed and the economy was plunged into ruin and hyperinflation after the white minority were violently dispossessed by bands of murderous squatters under Robert Mugabe.

The Prime Minister’s response was highly equivocal, as she assured Mr Bridgen that what she euphemistically referred to as “land reform” was raised with South African leader Cyril Ramaphosa when she visited the country in August.

“We recognise the concern there is, and the need there is for land reform,” she said — appearing to accept race-based land confiscations in principle.

“President Ramaphosa has consistently stated that violent and illegal land seizures will not be tolerated, and he’s also consistency [sic] said that the process should be orderly within South African laws and take into consideration both the social and economic impact,” she added.

This would appear to be a restatement of the Prime Minister’s previous suggestion that she considers it acceptable for the South African government to dispossess white farmers provided it is “within South African laws” — a stance which detractors have contrasted with approving of the dispossession of German Jews in the 1930s, which was also “legal”.

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