Unpacking expropriation without compensation in South Africa

Discussion in 'Africa' started by IM2, Aug 27, 2018.

  1. IM2
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    You white racists here at USMB need not talk trash without knowledge of the subject matter and only based on your racist perceptions.

    Unpacking expropriation without compensation in South Africa


    Nombuso Mathibela

    Jun 29, 2018
    After years of supporting a market-led land reform programme and not heeding criticisms of this policy, the African National Congress (ANC) leadership has adopted a radical policy of land expropriation without compensation, which would make it legal and within the constitutional bounds for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation.

    This radical thesis was adopted in the ANC’s 54th National Conference in December 2017 and subsequently most vehemently motioned in the National Assembly by the opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). The motion was passed with 241 parliamentarians in favour and 83 against the motion. Slight amendments were made by the ANC mainly that it should be the task of Parliament’s Constitutional Review Committee to review the property clause under Section 25 of the constitution and this committee would have until 30 August 2018 to complete this work.

    Moreover, the ruling party has reiterated that the government would pursue the expropriation of land without compensation without endangering or destabilising agricultural production, ensuring food security is not compromised, and financial services, which hold nearly 70 percent of commercial farmers’ debts, are not negatively impacted. The motion does not immediately lead to expropriation without compensation, but appoints a committee that will review the constitution in line with the proposition for land expropriation without compensation.

    Unfortunately, the motion in itself is indefinable, unclear on a way forward and in the absence of details opportunism has captured the debate reducing it to popular slogans that tug at the hearts of people who have been struggling for space to reproduce life and those who have eyed land reform as key site for historical justice.

    The story of land dispossession in South Africa, as argued by Hendricks, Ntsebeza and Helliker can neither be understood nor resolved without addressing race, in so far as blackness still coincides and socially denotes poverty and is linked to an identity of landlessness and dispossession as opposed to an identity of property and wealth held by whites. The history of land dispossession itself dates back to the expansion of the Dutch colonial settlement in the Cape in 1652 through the Dutch East India Company with Jan Van Riebeeck at its helm. The imposition of early settler colonial rule was marked by Dutch land occupation and fierce resistance waged by the indigenous inhabitants of the Cape area, the Khoi San.

    The 19th century is characterised by accelerated land dispossession and intense resistance waged by African people in response to their loss of land, livestock and political power. This period is also marked by the expansion of land dispossession and conquest to other parts of South Africa by the Dutch and British settlers. The “discovery” of minerals in parts of the country added to the rapid acceleration of land dispossession with the intention to force African people to become cheap labourers in newly established mines.

    The archives show that by the turn of the 20th century, most of the land that African people fought to maintain had been conquered through violent means and the later decades merely describe the consolidation of colonial rule through draconian legislation intended to bar all Africans from owning vast tracts of land in South Africa and thus delineating them to limited territorial space. An important legislative consolidation and structural turning point in the dispossession of land is the 1913 the Natives Land Act, which limited African land ownership to seven percent, though this would be subsequently increased to 13 percent. The Act took away from masses of African people an independent means of subsistence and consolidated the eventual conquering of African people’s ability to access independent means of subsistence. As a result, many were left with little choice but to sell their labour in mining reserves. Thereafter, South Africa was inundated with laws that would solidify the forcible removal of people from their homes and the distortion of political, cultural and family life.

    Professor Lungisile Ntsebeza notes that active strategies and tactics were employed to discourage the rise of the class of Black farmers that had been emerging in the 19th century and intensive support was extended to white farmers to bolster and cement their dominance in commercial agricultural production. Through the Afrikaaner nationalist government’s provision of state subsidiaries, favourable credit facilities, grants, transport concessions, tax relief, disaster management and the availability of cheap black labour, perpetuated skewed racial patterns of land ownership in line with one of the government’s thesis of economic accumulation and domination.

    Activist scholars in South Africa have argued that it may be useful to understand the current outcries around land reform from this historical perspective, notwithstanding the limitations of a constitution and state borne out of a political compromise. It may be useful to employ this context despite failures of the ruling party in properly executing its own land reform policy and their striking inability and refusal to resolve the control that traditional authorities have over communal land in rural areas, often to the detriment of women trying to acquire land.

    More.

    South Africa’s jurisprudence around property rights and the constitution’s framework is understood as leaning towards a market friendly approach as evidenced by its entrenchment of the right to private property, which favours existing property owners who are historically white elites. Therefore, under the political legal framing any struggle advocating for a radical shift in property rights as a pathway to economic emancipation and historical justice have to contest against the grain of a constitutional order configured towards the protection of private ownership of contested spatial realities.

    Land reform has triggered and anchored many contestations about growing gaps of inequality between the rich and poor and continued racially skewed patterns of land ownership and agricultural production. The demand for land to be returned to those who were dispossessed through colonial violence, has meant giving back to people their country so they might begin to resemble their material, symbolic and spiritual relationship to land and practice basic independent substance.

    Unpacking expropriation without compensation in South Africa | Pambazuka News
     
  2. Tipsycatlover
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    The whites in South Africa should get out now with their lives. Wait and they might not be so lucky. They can go to a civilized and welcoming country like Russia. South Africa will fall into the same kind of starvation and ruin as Zimbabwe.

    When the native population is reduced to eating one another's livers, all and I mean ALL aid should be denied.
     
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  3. IM2
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    I like that shade of purple.
     
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