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    Activist: 'Stealing Land' in S Africa is Absolutely Nothing but 'Declaring War'

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    Members of South African ethnic minority groups say that they are being left out of discussion on land reform, as the ruling African National Congress is preparing to amend the country’s constitution. Some activists see secession of their regions as an effective way to prevent land expropriation.

    South Africa's United Liberty Alliance, which represents several minority groups, including the Khoi and San, Boer and Afrikaner groups, has been exploring constitutional options of self-determination and independence for the past several years.

    READ MORE: South Africa Wants to Get Veto Power in UN Security Council — Foreign Minister

    Sputnik sat down with the President of United Liberty Alliance Hein Marx to talk about secessionist movements in various parts of South Africa, and whether their plans are affected by the country's current domestic policy.

    Sputnik: You've been exploring independence options for several ethnic groups in South Africa for quite a while. What is the current status of your initiatives?

    Hein Marx: In terms of international law, organizing to secede can't happen overnight. We've started the process of looking at secession 5-6 years ago. And, obviously, the moment that you start looking at secession, also you've got to start talking to the government. We've got 22 (I'm not sure about the exact number) or 24 letters, and I'm talking about letters from our side to South African President — to try and sort this out, to try and talk to him, to make him understand that in terms of South African constitution we have got the right to secede. 

    In terms of our constitution, other than in Catalonia, which is totally legal to secede, in South Africa we have the right to govern ourselves. And we've tried everything — we even sued the South African government, to which they said — "no, we would rather like to talk". And when that happened, then they've said "no, no — you've got to talk to the ANC". That's a joke, because the ANC is a political party, the ANC is not the government of the country.

    Sputnik: And yet, the ANC proposes changes to the constitution, they are being widely discussed all over the world — the so-called "land reform". How does this issue affect Khoi and San, Boer and Afrikaner people? In your opinion, is it legal to expropriate land?

    Hein Marx: You can't legalize criminalization, but being an ‘illegal government' — with so many criminals in the government, and with "we're going to change the constitution for no other reason, but because we want to basically steal your land" (in fact "stealing land" in terms of international acceptance is nothing else, and absolutely nothing else than declaring war). And this is how the European community in South Africa with the "colored" or Khoi and San community in South Africa are seeing it. We are seeing it as a declaration of war from our government on the civilian minority population of South Africa.

    Sputnik: Do you feel that there is a way to prevent these discriminatory practices from happening? The international community seems to have been become aware of the land grabs, with Donald Trump tweeting about the issue and with South African activists addressing the EU politicians?

    Hein Marx: The international community is extremely, extremely important in any of these kinds of situations all over the world, as well as in this one in South Africa. Unfortunately, the attitude that we have experienced up until now from the international community is that they don't really care. But, luckily, in terms of international law, and in terms of international acceptance all different parties, and specifically from the legal point of view — we've made it very clear, and we've made sure that the international community knows what is happening. We have not only asked — we have begged to "please, help solve this problem". So, therefore — and this is not a threat — this is reality: if the South African government declares war on these minorities — the Europeans and the Khoi and San, or colored communities, there will be bloodshed, and it will be very serious. 

    READ MORE: South Africa's Parliamentary Committee Nods Land Seizure From White Farmers

    Then the international community will have to look at themselves, to blame themselves for not getting involved. They were very quick to get involved in the previous system before 1994 — the Apartheid system — perfect! And what did the European community, the white community in South Africa do? They said — "perfect, let's stop this system, let's live together in peace and harmony, let's prosper, everybody, together". But the ANC government did not see this. They could not comprehend it. The only thing that they saw, was "stealing", there is no other word, [but] "stealing", being corrupt, — millions and billions of dollars. South Africa is corrupt by no other means, but though its direct government — the ANC.

    Sputnik: In your opinion, would South Africa's regions, which you see as part of secession movement, be able to exist as independent economic entities, to prosper?

    Hein Marx: Absolutely. In fact, in terms of international law, part of that is also handing in towards the international community, a feasibility study in terms of "can the area that you propose to have independent, can it be financially sustainable?" And the reality is — it is extremely good in terms of financial stability. In fact, the Western part of the country at this stage receives back somewhere around 25% of the total amount of tax that it sends to the central government. So, it loses 75% of its own tax. Where do we know where it goes to? It goes into the pockets of corrupt ANC politicians. 

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

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    land, reform, constitution, South Africa
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