White South Africans could be forced to give up their own homes from next year as the nation’s government steamrolls through plans for land expropriation over claims ‘Africa’s original sin’ must be reversed.
Land is a huge issue in South Africa where racial inequality remains entrenched more than two decades after the end of apartheid when millions of the black majority were dispossessed of their land by a white minority.
The National Assembly agreed to the establishment of a committee that will draft an amendment to section 25 of the Constitution – a law which will allow the government to take homes from the people – and refuse to pay them compensation.
As many in the nation see the move as retribution for the ‘original sin’ when decades ago black people were driven off their land, it is believed white farmers will be driven from their homes immediately.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s suggested (above) expropriation laws are feared by farmers
Cyril Ramaphosa has made land redistribution from white farmers to black disadvantaged citizens a flagship policy
Governing party The African National Congress (ANC) wants to amend the law so the government can take back land and distribute it.
However, critics say it is likely it will be handed off to their friends rather than dished out to those in need.
Last week the nations politicians fast tracked the set up of a committee which will write the legal change and present it next year.
The motion was adopted with 183 MPs voting yes, 77 voting no and no abstentions in fiery scenes as South Africans battle over land reform.
In the same week, South Africa’s High Court rejected a legal challenge brought by a group representing white farmers against President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans for land expropriation without compensation.
Currently section 25 of the Constitution ‘just and equitable’ payment which reflects ‘an equitable balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected’ must be offered for land – but changes would abolish the need to compensate.
Economic Freedom Fighters politician Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi said those arguing against legalising land grabs are ‘beneficiaries of racism’.
‘Your time is up, white people,’ She added.
The EFF will later put forward an amendment stating all land in private hands must be appropriated.