The move, approved by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) regime as well as the opposition EFF party earlier this year, is aimed at redistribution of wealth and alleged “radical economic transformation.” The regime is reportedly planning to put an end to what they still call the legacy of apartheid, where nearly 95 percent of South African wealth was kept in the hands of the white population whilst the blacks owned everything in a dozen of their own independent traditional homelands which the apartheid government was trying to get them to develop and become sovereign. To help them achieve this the Apartheid government even banned multinationals like AngloAmerican from operating in these new countries to give them a chance to establish themselves. Possibly that was the single biggest error of the Apartheid government.
This land confiscation policy together with public chants of “Kill the farmer, Kill the Boer“, have no doubt incited violence against white farmers. According to statistics from minority rights group AfriForum, 74 murders and 638 attacks primarily on white farmers had taken place in the 2016-17 year.
The new plan also sparked international outrage, with Australia approving emergency visas for white South African farmers facing violent attacks. However, the farmers who are seeking refuge in Australia have been branded racist by some South African politicians.
Some analysts insist the ANC plan to redistribute land will jeopardize commercial farming in the region, with South Africa at risk of repeating the mistake made by another African country at the turn of the millennium. Zimbabwe’s food production dropped after the country’s government authorized the brutal purge of white farmers in 2000. South Africa’s number of commercial farmers has already dropped from a high of 70,000 during apartheid to less than 20,000 under the communist ANC regime.
The Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU SA) has said that the expropriation of lands without compensation will hurt the nation’s economy.
“Banks have surety bonds on farms to the value of 180 billion rand. If the farms are expropriated without compensation the whole banking sector will collapse, And with that the economy,” the body’s spokesman told RT.
The organization insists that the reform is not going to bring jobs, poverty relief or food security if the land is not used to bring the desired product to the table. The move would compromise food security for the whole of South Africa which is ranked 7 out of only 10 nations across Africa which currently enjoy food security, the statement says.
More than 90 percent of food in South Africa is produced by commercial farmers. At this stage approximately 90 percent of the farms that were distributed to black farmers by the government, by their own admittance, go out of production,” TAU SA says.
Another expert has said that South Africa has been redistributing land since the mid-1990s, albeit at a very slow pace. The impact has not been that profound, to the contrary, South Africa’s self-sufficiency ratio has been declining slowly, according to Professor Martin C. Breitenbach, at the School of Economics, University of Pretoria, South Africa.
“On a micro level, there have been many reports of once-productive commercial farms that today are not producing anything,”Breitenbach said. “It has always been said that if land redistribution is done the right way (among others partnerships between farmers and communities that claim land and proper support to communities that claim land), it can work.”
According to the statistics compiled by TAU SA, the number of attacks on farms and farmer murders has steadily grown. As of June 4 this year 435 attacks on farms have been registered, resulting in 73 deaths.
“This has been an ongoing situation for many years now,” Breitenbach said. “The South African government has mostly defended its position by saying that farm attacks and farm murders are not different from the rest of the country and that all South Africans are affected by violent crime. The government has thus never treated farm attacks and farm murders as a government priority.”
The Institute of Race Relations has urged the international community to step in, as the South African government denies that the land expropriation, and the violence the bill sparked, are a problem.
“The white farmer in South Africa is part of a minority group. It is also unaccepted that property be expropriated without compensation. The international community should pressure the South African government to address the problem of crime in South Africa,” the TAU SA spokesman said.
“They should also pressure them not to take away the legal property of its citizens without compensating them.”
The experts highlight that international investments are vital for growing South Africa’s economy, while a constitution allowing expropriation without compensation creates uncertainty and chases investors away. In March, TAU SA President Louis Meintjes said that the reform sends a negative message to international investors.
“The ultimate result of what the government is currently introducing is the collapse of the economy and the redistribution of poverty which will affect all of us. International business will invest where profit could be made, and they are clearly not willing to risk investments to support a failed ideology,” Meintjes said. “It is not possible to send out a clearer message by expressing the intention to expropriate without compensation. In any developed society, this is regarded as theft, and efforts to disguise the intention to do so constitutionally, will not change that fact.”