South African news sources reported Sunday that the government had begun taking farmland without compensation with the attempted expropriation of two game farms in Limpopo, the country’s northernmost province, home to Kruger National Park.
The City Press reported that the government had “begun unilaterally expropriating farms against which land claims have been lodged and where price negotiations with owners have stalled.”
The South African Constitution, and existing law, allow the government to expropriate land, possibly without compensation, though in most cases the owners and the government have settled on a price after the negotiations were taken to court.
However, in the latest cases, the government acted before the owners had been given a chance to present their case in court.
The story is fueling concerns that the South African government may be acting preemptively to seize primarily white-owned land for redistribution to black owners.
Newly-installed President Cyril Ramaphosa, whom the South African business sector hoped would be a voice for reform, backed radicals’ effort to amend the South African Constitution to speed up expropriations earlier this year.
Critics — and investors — fear a repeat of Zimbabwe’s failed experiment in land reform, where the government of then-President Robert Mugabe seized white-owned farms after losing a constitutional referendum to expand presidential powers in 2000.
White farmers were killed or chased out of the economy; the country’s agricultural sector collapsed; millions of people went hungry; and the government brutally repressed the political opposition in its attempt to stop the nation’s self-destruction.
South African leaders have denied that they will repeat Zimbabwe’s mistakes, but calls from the radical left for more aggressive land reform have grown louder.
South Africa farm seizures BEGIN: Chaos as first expropriation of white-owned farms starts
SOUTH AFRICA’s government has begun seizing land from white farmers, targeting two game farms in the northern province of Limpopo after talks with the owners to buy the properties collapsed.
Johannesburg-based newspaper City Press reported owners Akkerland Boerdery wanted 200 million rand (£16.7m) for the land, but that the country’s government were willing to offer them just a tenth of that at 20 million rand (£1.67m).
A letter sent to the owners earlier this year had said: “Notice is hereby given that a terrain inspection will be held on the farms on April 5, 2018 at 10am in order to conduct an audit of the assets and a handover of the farm’s keys to the state.”
Akkerland Boerdery immediately took out an urgent injunction to prevent eviction until a court had ruled on the issue, but the Department of Rural Development and Land Affairs has refused the application.
Annelie Crosby, spokeswoman for the agricultural industry association AgriSA, told City Press: “What makes the Akkerland case unique is that they apparently were not given the opportunity to first dispute the claim in court, as the law requires.”
Now that the South African government has started seizing white owned farms without compensation, I’m sure all the media outlets that called @Lauren_Southern and I conspiracy theorists will immediately retract and apologize. Or not.
— Stefan Molyneux (@StefanMolyneux) August 21, 2018