South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, quoted our colleague, Graeme Codrington, this week while answering questions in Parliament on land expropriation.
Ramaphosa pointed to the words from a recent Facebook post where Graeme urges his fellow white South Africans to step back for a while “and listen” to the arguments about land reform.
You can read Graeme’s full post below….
My white South African friends who wish to comment on this week’s decision of Parliament to investigate possibly changing the Constitution to expedite land expropriation without compensation, please remember that this is not the first time the South African government has taken land without paying for it. In fact, it’s at least the fifteenth time the government of South Africa has passed laws to take land. I provide a list below for helpful reference – these were the apartheid era land acts.
Please do us a favour: if your ancestors did not comment about the previous fifteen times the government took land (and I am guessing that, like mine, they did not), then right now would be a good time to be quiet for a bit and listen.
Not forever. Just for a bit. And then calmly contribute to the conversation over the next few weeks and months in an attempt to find a solution that helps everyone.
Also, before you comment on the issue, please read the preamble of the motion put to Parliament this week and tell us how you respond to the fact that the government land audit has found that less than 7% of land in South Africa is owned by private black individuals. No, seriously, please start any comments on this issue with your thoughts and feelings on that statistic.
Now, here is that list I was speaking about – white people, let’s own this a bit please; the government of SA has been taking land for a long time; you just don’t like it this time because for the first time its not white skinned people doing the taking:
- The Glen Grey act of 1894 (Under Cecil John Rhodes)
- The Native Land Act of 1913 (Act 27)
- The Transvaal Asiatic Land Tenure of 1930.
- The Riotous Assemblies Act 19 – 1930.
- The Asiatic Immigration Amendment Act of 1931.
- The Native Service Contracts Act of 1932.
- The Native Trust and Land Act of 1936 (Act 18)
- The Slums Act of 1934.
- The Development Trust and Land Act of 1936 (Act 18)
- The Rural Dealers Licensing Act of 1935.
- The Representation of Blacks Act 12 of 1936.
- The Black (Native) Laws Amendment Act 46 of 1937
- The Pegging Act of 1946- The group areas act of 1950 (Act. 41)
And PS, for those who always moan about “how far back do we have to go”, all but the first two of these Acts were passed in my grandmother’s lifetime. She was born in Feb 1914. And she’s still alive. So, no, this isn’t going back too far.
PPS I suggest reading this as a start (he was referring to people reading this before commenting on his facebook post): https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/…/2018-02-28-parliament-hi…/
Also read this (especially Clause 8):
Here is the final wording of the motion passed in South Africa’s National Assembly on the 27 February 2018 on the Expropriation of land without compensation (as amended)
The House –
(1) notes that South Africa has a unique history of brutal dispossession of land from black people by the settler colonial white minority;
(2) further notes that land dispossession left an indelible mark on the social, political and economic landscape of the country, and has helped design a society based on exploitation of black people and sustenance of white domination;
(3) acknowledges that the African majority was only confined to 13% of the land in South Africa while whites owned 87% at the end of the apartheid regime in 1994;
(4) further acknowledges that the current land reform programme has been fraught with difficulties since its inception in 1994,and that the pace of land reform has been slow with only 8% of the land transferred back to black people since 1994;
(5) acknowledges that the recent land audit claims that black people own less than 2% of rural land, and less than 7% of urban land;
(6) Recognises that the current policy instruments, including the willing buyer willing seller policy, and other provisions of section 25 of the Constitution may be hindering effective land reform.;
[clause 7 removed in amendment]
(8) notes that in his State of the Nation Address , President Cyril Ramaphosa, in recognizing the original sin of land dispossession, made a commitment that Government would continue the land reform programme that entails expropriation of land without compensation, making use of all mechanisms at the disposal of the State, implemented in a manner that increases agricultural production, improves food security and ensures that the land is returned to those from whom it was taken under colonialism and apartheid and undertake a process of consultation to determine the modalities of the governing party resolution.”;
(9) further notes that any amendment to the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation must go through a parliamentary process as Parliament is the only institution that can amend the Constitution; and
(10) with the concurrence of the National Council of Provinces instructs the Constitutional Review Committee to –
(a) review section 25 of the Constitution and other clauses where necessary to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation, and in the process conduct public hearings to get the views of ordinary South Africans, policy-makers, civil society organisations and academics, about the necessity of, and mechanisms for expropriating land without compensation;
(b) propose the necessary constitutional amendments where applicable with regards to the kind of future land tenure regime needed, and(c) report to the Assembly by no later than 30 August 2018.
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