Stripping white farmers of their land without pay is justified because “it’s not really their land,” a spokesman for South Africa’s opposition party argued.
Speaking to The Independent, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said white farmers descended from Dutch and British colonizers stole the land “through a violent crime against humanity.” Ndlozi, a senior member of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has backed efforts to amend the South African constitution to allow authorities the power to redistribute property on racial grounds.
It was just last month that new President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his plans to reverse apartheid-era injustices by confiscating land from white farmers without compensation and then redistributing it to Black South Africans. The motion has stoked fears among the country’s white minority that such a move will encourage attacks on farmers.
“In this process, white people ought to accept the crime of apartheid and colonization and how these crimes impacted on Black people,” Ndlozi told the U.K. newspaper. Whites could “show remorse by ceding land they inherited through anti-Black racist dispossession.”
“Justice leads to reconciliation,” he added.
Despite opposition from white farmers, many South Africans agree that some sort of land redistribution is necessary for the country to rid itself of the horrors of apartheid and white colonial rule. A recent Land Audit report showed that Blacks comprise over 80 percent of South Africa’s population, yet own a mere 1.2 of its rural land. Meanwhile, whites account for just 9 percent of the population and own 23.6 percent of farmland in the country.
The EFF and African National Congress are now hoping to usher in new policies that provide a fairer economic landscape for South Africa’s Black population, The Independent reported.
“We felt a great and overwhelming sense of historic responsibility to finally reconstitute South African society on a truly non-racial land ownership basis,” Ndlozi said.
In addressing previous comments from EFF leadership that some have perceived as anti-white, Ndlozi explained that the language was only figurative.
“You only define yourself as white to distinguish yourself from Blacks,” he explained in reference to party leader Julius Malema’s recent threat to “cut the throat of whiteness.”
“Whiteness is a reference in as far as it seeks to point out the absolute other, which is Black. We’re going to take some of their land to share it with other Blacks.”