Bank Tells South African Farmers They Will Have to Pay Debts for Property Seized by the State

South African
GULSHAN KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

South African farmers subjected to land expropriation without compensation will still have to pay off their debts for property which has been seized by the state, according to a major bank.

In an email from Nedbank widely circulated on social media, now confirmed as genuine by Head of Group Media Relations Kedibonea Molopyane, according to The South African, farmers are warned that their debts will have to be paid in full even after their property is confiscated by the government.

It reads as follows:

“It is important to note the Home Loan agreement is subject to a contractual agreement, and bond payments remain due and payable until such time that the bond is paid in full irrespective of any form of land expropriation – with or without compensation. We would encourage you to continue with the bond payments until such time a determination is made.”

The African National Congress (ANC) under President Cyril Ramaphosa passed a motion for the expropriation of land without compensation in February 2018, originally moved by its former youth leader Julius Malema — who now heads the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a radical black nationalist and Marxist-Leninist party.

This motion was withdrawn after U.S. President Donald Trump publicly intervened to challenge the policy, widely recognised as being geared towards dispossessing the country’s white minority, as happened in Zimbabwe in the 2000s — with disastrous consequences.

“I have asked Secretary of State [Mike Pompeo] to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers,” he tweeted, referring to statistics compiled by civil rights groups such as AfriForum which show farmers are facing a disproportionate level of attacks, often marked by extreme brutality.

However, observers such as independent journalist Laren Southern, who helped to bring the issues facing South Africa’s white minority to international attention with her Farmlands documentary earlier in 2018, have cautioned people not to celebrate too soon.

Miss Southern believes the motion has only been withdrawn to make way for a more thoroughgoing constitutional amendment which will remove any potential legal issues with respect to seizing white farmers’ private property — an interpretation which would seem to be borne out by the ANC’s public statements on how it intends to move land expropriation without compensation forward.

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