17:12 GMT01 March 2021
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    While the South African government is seeking to expropriate land from whites through a constitutional reform, the local opposition, civil rights activists and social media commentators have raised the alarm about more killings of white farmers and blame the ruling ANC for neglecting crimes, some of which have been described as racial.

    The recent murder of an elderly white couple in South Africa has triggered another round of debates of violence against white land owners. According to the South African Crime Intelligence & Community Awareness page, Coleen Engelbrecht was strangled with an iron cord, while the intruders cut her husband’s throat. The killing has become another episode in a wave in brutal farm attacks in rural areas. According to South African News, in April such crimes made headlines as six of them were registered within just three days. The splash of violence has triggered uproar on social media, with many users blaming the authorities for turning a blind eye to racial murders.

    ​However, some argued that skin color has nothing to do with the killings.

    Attack Escalation

    Meanwhile, ITV News Africa has recently reported that white farmers are taking up arms to protect their property.

    The Democratic Alliance (DA), which is in opposition to the governing African Congress led by incumbent President Cyril Ramaphosa, has accused it of “sitting idle” while the attacks “escalate.” They blamed South African police for not doing enough, claiming the forces in the rural areas are under-resourced. Meanwhile, in 2016-17, 52 murders were carried per day in South Africa.

    “Attacks on anyone who lives on or visits a farm – have increased once again. The attacks are carefully planned, and without exception include violence, and frequent torture of the most horrific kinds. Even children are mercilessly targeted,” DA MP Diane Kohler Barnard said, cited by SA News.
    However, a South African civil rights group, AfriForum, has accused the country’s government of neglecting persecution against minorities.

    Land Expropriation Sped Up

    Currently, the South African government, led by Cyril Ramaphosa from ANC, is looking into constitutional reform that would let land to be expropriated from white farmers without compensation. Since white minority rule ended more than two decades ago, the land issue has been one of the most politicized and controversial questions in South Africa and its ANC party, which came to power in 1994. In South Africa, where unemployment, crime and poverty are on the rise, 73 percent of agricultural estates still belong to white South Africans, who make up 10 percent of the population.

    READ MORE: What Do People Say About Future Confiscation of White Farmers' Land in S Africa?

    After years of debates on redistribution of agricultural land, the ANC decided to transfer property to black people without compensation in December 2017.  In February, the Parliament supported this principle. However, to realize it, the Constitution must be changed. The Constitutional Review Committee will provide their assessment on these changes by August 30.


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    racial attacks, assaults, farm, Democratic Alliance, African National Congress (ANC), Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa
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