On the 27th February 2018 the South African parliament voted in favour of a motion seeking to change the constitution to allow white-owned land expropriation without compensation. Julius Malema, the leader of radical Marxist opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, brought forward the motion. The motion passed by a wide margin of 241 votes to 83 against. The matter has been referred to the parliament’s Constitutional Review Committee, which must report back by August 30.
So what’s the big deal? Well, not much if you take the view of Marxist guerrilla leader Malema. The day after the motion was passed, Malema spoke to supporters in Soweto, and very kindly sought to alleviate worries about potential violence:
“Whites must be happy we are not calling for genocide. We are exercising our political freedom, and we are hurting them the most. We hurt you, and we take from you without a drop of blood. That’s the power of democracy. That’s who we are. We don’t subscribe to violence. We don’t subscribe to brutality. We subscribe to the exercising of our political freedom and we stretch it to the limit. This was a powerful generation that brought the land back to the people, back to the rightful owners, without genocide, without a drop of blood.”
History tells sane people to take the words of Marxists with a pinch of salt. Thus, one considers the issue of white farms in South Africa. Have there been any issues recently? Last year, South Africans held a protest over farm murders titled #blackmonday. There is currently a whitehouse.gov petition asking for immigration priority to be given to white South Africans. The European parliament recently rejected a proposal to debate farm murders in South Africa.
This is categorically a dereliction of duty. There is systematic violence against white farmers in South Africa. The international community must take note. The statistics prove it. Civil rights group AfriForum notes the following in relation to white farm attacks:
Commercial farmers are 4.5 times as likely to get murdered as the South African population as a whole. Furthermore, [AfriForum] they note 156 commercial farmers are killed per 100,000. According to the police’s annual crime statistics, 34.1 South Africans are murdered per 100,000 of the population.
Continuing with the grim statistic AfriForum recorded 70 murders and 357 attacks on farms in 2016. Deputy CEO Ernst Roets said the group was being “deliberately conservative” in its numbers.
“We only add cases that we can verify. When we say 70 we mean that we have a list of 70 people that have been murdered.”
Journalist Lauren Southern’s documentary FarmLands adds weight to the above statistics by allowing those directly affected with the attacks speak for themselves. There are two particularly upsetting clips which can be found freely on YouTube. The first is of a woman from Aberdeen, South Africa who experienced a farm attack. She details the experience in which she woke up one day, and seen that her husband had been shot in the face:
“I went outside, and I saw the blood, and only then had I realised my husband had been shot. The marks are still on the wall. You hear about this every day . . . my husband survived the attack but others aren’t as lucky as us . . . my peace has been stolen.”
The second clip details the experience of a woman called Jeanine who recounts the experience of her father being executed:
“There was a knock on the door. My dad opened the door, and was shot in the stomach . . . all the time my dad is being shot, back, arms, legs, and my dad slumped over this chair . . . and he was shot in the back of the head here. Execution style, in the back of the head. They found eight cartridges, he was shot six times . . . and for what you know?”
The voice of the white farmers is invariably marred with the legacy of the apartheid. The likes of Malema will either ignore the reality of this violence, or see it as an unfortunate consequence of reclaiming land that was taken from them. The issue of land ownership raises questions of what people arrived in South Africa first. The first were the San who populated South Africa, then came the Bantu people who colonised due to their expansion, then there was Dutch colonisation in 1652, then came arrival of the Zulu people, and more recently came British colonisation. However, if one looks around the countries of the globe, can one authentically claim that each nation has purely indigenous people residing there? To rectify historical ills by any means necessary is utopian fantasy. To say that the recent passing of Malema’s motion won’t result in more violence is fantasy. The question for the international community is whether blood will be on their hands when violence comes.