SOUTH Africa’s policy of seizing privately-owned land from white farmers without compensation could destroy the country for years to come, experts have warned.
On July 31, On July 31, President Cyril Ramaphosa, who had only been elected into office in February, confirmed his African National Congress (ANC) party would pass an amendment to the country’s constitution.
Mr Ramaphosa claimed the new amendment was designed to “outline more clearly the conditions under which expropriation of land without compensation can be affected”.
Last week, ANC chairman Gwede Mantashe sparked panic among the farming community when he said that any farmers owning more than 25,000 acres of land would have it taken from them without compensation.
The South African government has now started seizing land from white farmers, initially targeting two game farmers in the northern province of Limpopo after talks with the owners Akkerland Boerdery broke down over a huge differences in its estimated value.
State-owned Land Bank has warned that the government’s new decree on land reform could trigger defaults that would cost the South African economy £2.2bn if the bank’s rights as a credit are not protected.
The situation has been further inflamed following a tweet from Donald Trump on Wednesday, which said he had asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to study the “land and farm seizures” and “killing of farmers”.
This sparked a furious reaction from the South Africa, who responded on Twitter by saying it “totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past”.
It added: “South Africa will speed up the pace of land reform in a careful and inclusive manner that does not divide our nation.”
Between January and March 2018 [date corrected], there were 109 attacks and 15 murders on white farms, averaging one death every five days, with Young Voices contributor Alexander C. R. Hammond arguing that President Ramaphosa’s amendment will inevitably lead to increased violence as land seizures become commonplace, as well as potential famine and a crippled economy.