Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

SA urged to seize white farms

SA urged to seize white farms

by James Mombe     Thursday 16 June 2011

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa must seize white-owned farmland without paying 
compensation, ruling ANC party youth leader Julius Malema has said.

Malema, whose youth league does not determine policy but is one of the most 
influential voices in the ANC, said the government’s preferred willing 
buyer/willing seller policy has failed to ensure transfer of enough land to 
the country’s land hungry blacks.

“Willing-buyer, willing-seller is not an alternative… The alternative from 
the youth league is that we take the land without paying. That is what we 
are proposing,” said Malema, who was speaking ahead of the league’s 24th 
national congress that began today in Midrand just outside Johannesburg.

Under the willing buyer/willing seller policy the government pays market 
prices for land voluntarily offered on the market.

But Malema queried why black South African should pay for land that was 
originally stolen from them, echoing the argument of neighbouring Zimbabwe’s 
President Robert Mugabe who has refused to pay for land grabbed from whites 
saying it was stolen from black Zimbabweans in the first place.

“They never bought the land, they stole the land. They did not only steal 
the land, they converted the owners of the land into slaves … now we must 
pay for that with the willing-buyer, willing-seller,” said Malema.

There was no immediate reaction from the main ANC wing to Malema’s calls for 
land seizures. But the President Jacob Zuma and other senior ANC leaders 
have previously not backed the vocal youth leader’s radical positions on 
land reform or the nationalisation of mines that he has also called for.

Thousands of poor blacks are still waiting for the ANC government to deliver 
on its promise on coming to power in 1994 when it set itself an ambitious 
target of redistributing 30 percent of all agricultural land to the black 
majority by 2014.

With four years before the delivery date the South African government has 
acquired only about four percent of land from private owners for 
redistribution, and says it needs to accelerate the process amid growing 
unrest among the poor landless blacks.

South Africa – just like its northern neighbour Zimbabwe – inherited an 
unjust land tenure system from previous white-controlled governments under 
which the bulk of the best arable land was reserved for whites while blacks 
were forced to crowd on mostly arid and infertile soils.

But South Africa, which has Africa’s biggest farming sectors and its biggest 
economy, has repeatedly said it will not follow the example of Zimbabwe 
where Mugabe has confiscated most of the farms owned by that country’s about 
4 500 white commercial farmers and gave them over to blacks.

The farm seizures are blamed for plunging Zimbabwe — once a net food 
exporter — into severe food shortages since 2001 after black peasant farmers 
resettled on former white farms failed to maintain production because the 
government failed to support them with financial resources, inputs and 
skills training. — ZimOnline.


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