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AfriForum reveals new information on land ownership, as well as memorandum to international community on expropriation without compensation

April 24, 2018 deur Natasha Venter

The civil rights organisation AfriForum will send a delegation to the USA next week to launch the first leg of the organisation’s international campaign against expropriation without compensation.

The organisation plans on meeting with government representatives, research institutions, the media and potential investors abroad. AfriForum plans on mobilising the international community to pressurise the South African government into setting aside its expropriation policy.

The memorandum that AfriForum will use to this effect was made available to the media today. According to the memorandum, Government’s attempts to expropriate land without compensation have a clear racist motive.

“Furthermore, Government’s viewpoint on land reform presents three core problems,” says Ernst Roets, Deputy CEO of AfriForum.

These problems are:

  1. The policy is based on a distortion of South Africa’s history.
  2. The allegation that there is a great demand for land is false – especially regarding agricultural land.
  3. In terms of Government’s interference in land ownership so far, results have been catastrophic.

The distortion of the past relates to the assumption that white land owners inevitably obtained land through oppression, whereas most of the land owned by white people was legally bought.   There were also cases in the 1800s where the Voortrekkers took possession of uninhabited land. Furthermore, it is true that conflict between white and black tribes indeed occurred during the Great Trek. However, the fact is swept under the carpet that conflicts for the purpose of conquering land had at that stage been a common practice among black tribes.

Regarding the demand for agricultural land, AfriForum today revealed that 57,8% of land claims up to now had been for urban land – and not agricultural land. It is also common knowledge that 93% of people who submitted land claims indicated that they preferred financial compensation rather than land restitution. The Institute of Race Relations also found that only 1% of people in South Africa believe that land reform would improve their lives.

In terms of the third problem, Government conceded that more than 90% of farms that the State had transferred to black owners had failed.  Although the South African government has already spent more than R45 billion on land reform, only 6,3% of land procured by the State has been converted to private ownership.

AfriForum also released a report titled Land in South Africa – A Geospatial Perspective. This report was compiled by Burgert Gildenhuys, Executive Director of MapAble. The report reveals the following:

  1. 24,03% of land in South Africa is state-owned. This land includes land owned by the State, former homelands and parts of former homelands, as well as areas under nature reservation. It can be split per province as follows:
  • Eastern Cape: 34,65%
  • Free State: 6,5%
  • Gauteng: 19,90%
  • KwaZulu-Natal: 52,32%
  • Limpopo: 42,66%
  • Mpumalanga: 32,72%
  • Northern Cape: 11,20%
  • North West: 31,99%
  • Western Cape: 15,59%
  • Total: 24,03%
  1. Data on land ownership is deficient and should be corrected if an informed decision is to be taken.
  2. The land issue in South Africa is linked to race. The Land Audit Report 2017 attempted to link land to race. This attempt was inaccurate, however, as data provided by the Department of Home Affairs no longer includes the race of citizens of the country.

Read the report here: AfriForum – Land and land reform.