09:03 GMT +311 December 2019
Listen Live
    A unidentified farmer looks at burning grass lands that was set alight next to his farm near the town of De Doorns, South Africa, Friday, Jan 11, 2013

    Activist: It Might Take 40-50 Years for S Africa to Recover From 'Land Reform'

    © AP Photo / Schalk van Zuydam
    Get short URL

    South Africa’s ruling party – the African National Congress is preparing to amend the country’s constitution, allowing “land expropriation without compensation”, which may affect the nation’s Boer and Afrikaner minorities.

    The ANC's representative in the National Assembly Vincent Smith told Sputnik that “the ANC takes into consideration all sectors of the community, including the Boers. But the arguments by the dispossessed for expropriation far outweigh the arguments by the Boers".

    When asked about whether minorities will face discrimination because of the land reform, the ANC representative stated that “the amendments will be done within the confines of the Constitution and therefore all will not be discriminated against".

    The ruling party's representative did not side with the Economic Freedom Fighters’ proposal of “total nationalisation”. According to Vincent Smith “title deeds must be issued to individual beneficiaries because land ownership is a gateway to economic empowerment. The state must own some land and communal land ownership must also be allowed".

    Vincent Smith also shared with Sputnik his recent speech, which outlines the ruling party's plans.

    ANC's vocal opponents, in turn, are using all possible means to voice their concerns. One such person — South African publisher, commentator and Afrikaner rights activist Dan Roodt, agreed to explain his position in detail.

    Sputnik: In one of your previous Sputnik interviews, you mentioned that there is a "system of ethnic domination" in South Africa, and the country's white Boer and Afrikaner minorities are under pressure. Has anything changed in the past few months? How is the situation now?

    Dan Roodt: I think it probably worsened, and more and more people are becoming impoverished because they are being excluded from the public and the private job markets.

    READ MORE: Politicians, Observers Warn of Economic Disaster in S Africa Amid Land Grabs

    Twenty years ago you would probably see a lot of our people in big companies, or in banks, but now we all just disappeared from these institutions. So, I think they are putting more pressure on us, including issue around land.

    Sputnik: The issue of land reform, which is being carried out by the ruling African National Congress, has been around for a while. It seems that they are going forward with the reform, and with constitutional amendments, which will allow land expropriation without compensation. Do you feel that Boer and Afrikaner minorities will be affected in a negative way by the reform?

    Dan Roodt: Yes, definitely, our interests are being affected by this. It's a common knowledge that some of [South Africa's] public companies have been looted in the 1990s, or stolen, embezzled through corruption, or other means — the contracts with the cronies of the politicians. To certain extent the money, which has been stolen from the airline, from the national broadcaster — that is our money.

    The only area where we've got some capital left is in the form of our property — our homes, our farms and so on. And those farms in rural areas — they are not only used for agriculture, they are also used for tourism, as workshops and for small-scale manufacturing, because we are excluded from the mainstream economy.

    This is a kind of "the last refuge" for these farms, where people can have economic activity. And that is why they now want to confiscate those farms, as they say "without compensation", which will be a form of nationalization.

    READ MORE: Attacks on White Farmers in S Africa: Expert Explains How Gov't May Protect Them

    Similar things happen in Soviet Union or in Eastern Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Poland, and all those countries. South Africa now is the only country in the world, apart from Cuba, which is contemplating this form of nationalization, or "confiscation without compensation".

    Sputnik: Since you've mentioned the economy, do you feel that ANC is able to foresee what consequences the reform will bring in terms of investment climate? We contacted the ANC to ask them about the reform, but their representative in the National Assembly Vincent Smith sent us a file with his recent speech on the issue. In the speech, Mr.Smith said that "It is important to emphasize that the Land reform project must not undermine economic investment, it must enhance agricultural productivity and it must not disrupt food security."  Do you think it's possible to avoid such disruptions with the way the reform is expected to be carried out?

    Dan Roodt: No, what they are saying there is a contradiction in terms, because it's not possible to confiscate those farms without disrupting the economic activity. Similar to what happened in Zimbabwe.

    We had the same situation in the early 2000 there when agriculture came to a standstill as Robert Mugabe embarked on a similar program in that country, which was completely catastrophic.

    Zimbabwe has not recovered from that. It shows that with this kind of so-called "land reform" it takes sometimes 40 or 50 years to recover from the economic consequences and some countries never recover from that. I think that Zimbabwe will never recover from that. And it might take us 40 or 50 years to recover from something like that.

    Sputnik: Many Boer and Afrikaner people use social media to complain about farm murders and other big problems in South Africa's society. However, ANC is certain, again — in Vincent Smith's words, that "without land redistribution we will never achieve a united South African Society, nor will we overcome the challenges of inequality." When talking about their vision of unity, does the ANC take into consideration the needs of Boer and Afrikaner minorities?

    Dan Roodt: No, not at all. They are not listening to us at all. There were thousands and thousands of objections to this program, which were simply ignored. They've just looked at submissions from their own people, and the people within the ANC, and they simply ignored hundreds of thousands of submissions from the rest of the public, and especially from Afrikaners.

    So, it is not a democratic process by any imagination. And also, it is causing a lot more division now among South Africa's communities than ever before.

    We used to live in harmony with one another at one time, but this so-called "land reform" and imminent land expropriation, — it's leading to extreme ethnic division in South Africa, and it could result in some sort of ethnic conflict in the country.

    Sputnik: It appears that the land reform is going to be carried out in one way or another, and next year we are expecting new developments as amendments to the constitution to be finalized. Do you feel that the international community — the organizations such as the UN, clubs such as BRICS or G20, or, perhaps powerful nation players may get involved to protect the rights of land owners in your country?

    Dan Roodt: To restore balance in South Africa more intervention is needed from countries, international organizations such as the UN, or the EU, and even the United States.

    I know that Mr.Trump tweeted about problems in South Africa, and he just appointed a new ambassador in South Africa, who is an ex-South African, South African immigrant, and hopefully she will also play a role in curbing the excesses of this program that has been announced, and Russia could also play a constructive role in South Africa.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


    Land Reclamation Coming to S Africa in 2019, White Farmers Land to be Seized
    Libyan Presidential Candidate: I Will Make Libya Africa's Switzerland
    South Africa's Parliamentary Committee Nods Land Seizure From White Farmers
    Mandela's Grandson Slams Trump's Tweet: S Africa 'Won't Be Dictated to'
    land reform, South African National Rally Championship, African National Congress (ANC), National Assembly, Donald Trump, South Africa
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik