Farm Murders and Land Expropriation – What does it mean for our beloved country?

The first waves of violence to hit our beloved South Africa was with the Rhodesian Bush War. The South African farming communities were those affected, mainly white farmers. 300 white farmers between 1964 and 1980 were killed.

SAAU figures showed a record of 66 farm murders taking place in 1991, which subsequently rose to 92 in 1994. This was the beginning of a trend in which politically-related violence took over and governed. Despite many efforts, it became a lawlessness time. James Myburgh, the editor of PoliticsWeb, states that even today members of the white farming community, especially in the eastern half of the country, are still being killed in armed attacks at an extraordinarily high rate.

Fast-forward to 2018; farm attacks are still taking place at an increasing rate. Intellectuals arguing the contrary over the years state the abnormal behaviour in the prevalence of these types of murders. Firstly, the age profile of victims is usually elderly, and secondly, the level of brutality is equally unusual.

With over 2 400 people killed in farm murders and countless others seriously injured and/or left psychologically scarred, individuals of South Africa are left with heavy hearts. The high level of endemic violence against farmers in South Africa is inseparable from the poor economic conditions many have to struggle to survive in.

It is felt that this issue is as strong as the expropriation of land without compensation. Those that will be most affected will be the poor, elderly and unemployed, individuals living in South Africa.

It was stated that farms would also be affected by the expropriation of land, however, these claims have been proven false by Rural Development and Land Reform Department Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

Fear stems from the notion that the current legislative framework requires just a ‘reasonable’ compensation for any expropriation of land. “The Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform is empowered by current existing law to issue notices of expropriation with an offer for payment”. Concern was expressed as some of the properties included are highly productive commercial farms.

Hope and faith are carried by many through the view that the decision is in the court of Parliament’s Constitutional Review Committee, which is considering whether to amend the Constitution of allowing the expropriation of land without compensation. If it were to be left, the confiscation of property should be done without destabilising the agricultural sector, without endangering food security in our country and without undermining economic growth and job creation.

“To amend the Constitution, two-thirds of the National Assembly must vote for a proposed amendment and, in the National Council of Provinces, six of the nine provinces must be for the proposed amendment”.

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