Friday, November 13, 2009

Land: The Opium of the Masses

Of course, Marx was referring to religion, but the Land question has replaced other concerns as the major distraction of the New South Africa. Here's another article sent by Black Coffee, from AllAfrica.

The Land issue will come to greater and greater prominence as the ANC struggles to meet its commitments to its citizens, just as it did in Zimbabwe as Mugabe's grip on power was threatened. Land has always been an emotive and sensitive issue, but all the more reason to keep a cool head, and more importantly, to get the facts in order.

South Africa, Going Zimbabwe's Way

SOUTH Africa has again postponed the target date of its land reform programme. In its post apartheid election manifesto, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) had promised to redistribute 30 percent of agricultural land in its first five years in office. But by 2001, some seven years later, less than two per cent had been distributed.

A new date of 2014 was fixed, today less than five years to the new date, ownership remains almost like it was during apartheid; 14 percent of the populace owns 85 per cent of the land.

[Just like nearly every other agrarian country in the world in fact. It's important to interject here, and refer the reader to this article by Yolandi Groenewald which, along with many others, points out the fallacy of these figures. The state itself (which is run by blacks) owns at least 25% of all land in South Africa. Whites own 44%. But this is just land itself, not arable or Commercial land. An article by Censorbugbear Reports recently claimed that whites farmed less than 1% of all South Africa's land. Historical note: in the 1870s, 90% of Scotland was owned by just 1,500 people]

The Jacob Zuma government needs an initial 17 billion Rands to pay some White farmers for lands. But no such money is available. With White farmers charging exorbitant amounts for the farms
[i.e. what they're worth], the government abandoned the willing-buyer, willing-seller policy. It decided to offer farmers purchase based on independent valuation which they are expected to accept within six months or face possible expropriation.

Despite this, the reality is that no appreciable progress is being made so the government is forced to postpone its 2014 target date. But this may yet lead to protests by the landless and their groups such as the Landless Peoples Movement (LPM) which had once threatened to launch a campaign to take the lands unless the reform programme is accelerated.

A major reason for the anti- apartheid struggle was land. It was a major issue in the talks that led to the birth of the new rainbow nation of South Africa.

During the negotiations for majority rule, the willing-buyer, willing-seller clause was agreed which theoretically assumed that there would be funds to purchase the land and that the White farm owners in the spirit of reconciliation would willingly sell their lands at reasonable prices. But both assumptions have been proven wrong.

The funds are not readily available while the White farmers have tried to truncate the process by charging
exorbitant prices.

The lands in question were originally
stolen from the Black populace. The Afrikaners had the belief that they were God's chosen race to inherit the promised land of South Africa, a land flowing with milk and honey [the bees must've been HUGE].

They organised a Great Trek from the Cape northwards to the central, northern and eastern parts of South Africa where they conquered the Africans, maimed and massacred them before taking their lands.

It is those stolen lands that their inheritors insist on selling today to the South African government at ridiculous prices.

After the 1899 - 1902 Anglo-Boer War, both sides decided to unite against the black populace and size the entire country. On May 31, 1910 the British and the Boers announced the establishment of the Union of South Africa.

Three years later, they imposed the Natives Land Act (1913) which set seven per cent of the total land surface to the African people while they reserved the rest for themselves. In the process, 87 percent of the country's lands were seized by the White minority which turned the blacks into squatters on their ancestral lands.

So for the landless, the rural poor and most South Africans, the re-possession of their ancestral homes was the primary purpose of the liberation struggle not the ballot box
[interesting]. To them, democracy meant the justice of regaining their ancestral lands. That to them, was also what reconciliation meant. The struggle was not to see Black faces replace white faces in Pretoria.

Now the economic and legal approach to land reforms and redistribution does not appear to be feasible. Therefore, if there is to be genuine and
reasonable land reforms, a political option must be sought.

One such example which continues to crop up is the Zimbabwean example. In 1890, the racist and greedy Briton
[steady on there old son], Cecil Rhodes, raised a mercenary force of 500 with which he attacked Zimbabwe. Each mercenary was promised 3,000 acres of conquered Zimbabwean land.

In 1930, the Land Apportionment Act was enacted confining the Black majority who make up 96 percent of the populace to about half the land mass. That meant that the four percent settler Whites were given over 50 per cent of the land.

At the Lancaster House Talks which led to Zimbabwe's April 18, 1980 independence, it was agreed to adopt the willing buyer, willing seller approach with Britain promising to provide the bulk of the funds for the purchase. But Britain did not fulfill its promise and the Zimbabwean government did not have the necessary funds.

The government was supposed to resettle 162,000 families or 750,000 Zimbabweans on nine million hectares of land within three years from 1982.

But by 1989 only 40,000 families had been resettled. The Zimbabwean government under Robert Mugabe decided to allow war veterans seize some of the lands by force.

There is a myth that Zimbabwe had economic and political problems as the direct consequence of the seizures. In a sense yes,
but the problems were essentially imposed by Britain and its allies who isolated the country, denied her needed spare parts and credit, and generally put pressure on companies not to do business with Zimbabwe.

If land seizures were to occur in South Africa, it remains to be seen whether the west and America can squeeze it like they did Zimbabwe, or raise puppets as political opposition.

There is also the example of Kenya where after the British White settlers seized the arable lands of the Kikuyu, they resettled some of them in the Rift Valley on lands mainly belonging to the Kalenjin and Massai. But when presidential elections were deadlocked between Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, the violence took ethnic dimensions based on the unresolved colonial land distribution problem.

South Africa can seek a midway between the Zimbabwean and Kenyan examples.
It can squeeze the Whites so they can become willing sellers at vastly discounted rates. [classic Stalinist understanding of the word "willing" there]

It can place high taxation on the lands enough to make them unattractive for the whites to hold on to. There are no easy options, but inaction is not a viable option.

7 Opinion(s):

Doberman said...

This piece is so full of inconsistencies and bullshit, it beggars belief. Somehow, the trekkers moved inland and dispossessed the "poor blacks" of their huge commercial farms (kinda what it infers) when the truth is most land was unsettled and uncultivated and it was whites that turned them into flourishing farms. Blacks have never been farmers beyond subsistence and pastoral. To claim that 500 000 blacks (estimated black population when whites arrived) occupied the whole of South Africa with cultivated lands and flourishing farms is afrocentric bullcrap of the highest order. "A major reason for the anti- apartheid struggle was land." More crap. I thought it was about equal rights and political power but that's just me. This piece is the kind of revisionist twaddle Black Coffee and co peddle in.

Viking said...

- completely true.
I posted it less out of 'balance' and more out of 'know thy enemy'.

You rightly point out the big difference between "land" and "farms" that a lot of people (including the author) haven't cottoned onto yet. Only a farmer will know how much money (and experience over generations) goes into machinery, breeding, irrigation, long term planning, farm buildings etc.

Doberman said...

I know you did V. I do it too sometimes just so people can get an idea of the thinking out there. These people really do believe this shite.

Anonymous said...

And these lies are what the goverment will peddle and use to justify as the reason when they start forcing the remaining farmers from their land...ala Zimbabwe. It's their last trump card when their people start getting restless with their poor management. SA is busy having chest pains and waiting for the heart attack to happen.

Ron. said...

This article smacks of a hit piece & deliberately mis-characterizes & distorts which is aimed at dispossessing people for the crime of having paler skin.

Quote: [ The lands in question were originally stolen from the Black populace. ]

Wrong. The lands in question were VACANT which is the ONLY reason the Boers [ not Afrikaners - they had no desire to trek ] were even able to settle into the land in the first place! How the hell could they have settled into those lands if they were populated by Bantus? Do these propagandists EVER think about that? Look what happened to the Boers as it was for the "crime" of attempting to negotiate with Dingaan for the vacant land under Zulu sway south of the Tugela River. Do you not suppose the Boers would have been similarly dealt with by other local tribes if they even so much as ATTEMPTED to dispossess others of their lands? Anti-Boer propagandists: use some common sense for once in your lives! The Boers would have been annihilated if they even attempted to engage in the sort of dispossession scheme often erroneously attributed to them & they sure as hell would have had a difficult time in ensuring peaceful relations with their neighbours [ whom they often traded with ] if they had. Furthermore: the author does not tell his readers that the land was originally stolen BY the Black populace from the original Khoisan peoples! Therefore any feigned concern over alleged theft by various White folks would seem rather disingenuous to say the least [ & reveal pure partisan political motivations ] because the large scale Bantu theft was far more pervasive & left the harshest consequences.

[ The Afrikaners had the belief that they were God's chosen race to inherit the promised land of South Africa, a land flowing with milk and honey ]

Talk about gross conflation. Quoting from a tenant of Afrikaner Nationalism then speciously misapplying the tenant retroactively to the actual Boer people as though the Boers even believed in 20th century myth-making principles is a fraudulent act. Another fraud in this line is the notion that the Boers wanted to inherit South Africa which is yet another 20th century notion as the Boers of the 19th century just wanted to be left the hell alone & free from Colonialism & oppression.

[ conquered the Africans, maimed and massacred them before taking their lands. ]

Can this fool name just ONE group they allegedly conquered. Conquered implies things: it means that a given group is in a SUPERIOR neo Colonial political position of power which dictates things to a submissive people. The Boers fought wars in DEFENSE of being attacked & slaughtered but they never conquered peoples as they left the Zulus to govern themselves until the British conquered them in 1879. [ If the Boers "conquered" the Zulus then who the hell did the British conquer in 1879? An hallucination perceived as the Zulu people? ] The Boers fought against the Ndebele in defense of being attacked by them but the Boers did not conquer them. They chased those who attacked them into present day Zimbabwe but they were not conquered by the Boer people. Were any of these supposed " conquered tribes" forced to speak the Boer dialect of Afrikaans as a first language? [ Though I understand some Tswana do speak Afrikaans as a home language ] Therefore how the hell can they have been conquered in any classic sense of the term. The only killing which was ever done by trekking Boers was to DEFEND against attacks & to hold onto the vacant lands they inherited by way of trekking.

[ It is those stolen lands that their inheritors insist on selling today to the South African government at ridiculous prices. ]

If any land was genuinely stolen & can proven to have been so then let's deal with it on a case by case basis in a FAIR & equitable manner instead of this fly-by-night slip-shod reckless attempt at dispossessing ALL farmers who just happen to have paler skin for the sake of shortsighted politics.

Ron. said...

Continuation.

[ After the 1899 - 1902 Anglo-Boer War, both sides decided to unite against the black populace and size the entire country. ]

This is another distortion because the region was already long seized [ not "sized" ] by the British. The British seized Xhosaland & Zululand LONG before the establishment of South Africa & even long before the second Anglo-Boer War. "Unite against the Black populace". Can you say emotional laced agenda driven genocidal enticing propaganda? The Colonial regimes were already biased against the political rights of the Black populace long before their establishment of South Africa! Perhaps if the macro State was not imposed there never would have been the so called "uniting against the Black populace" in the first place. Perhaps this was one of those hidden goals concerning the establishment of the macro State because nothing ramped up racial strife more than the imposition of an arbitrary macro State [ of which the Boers were historically against & only signed that damned Vereeniging Peace Treaty - against the initial wishes of President Martinus Steyn of the OFS - due to the extreme toll the concentration camps leveled against their children ] to be administered by a White regime. Talk about setting up its inescapable antithesis [ re: SANNC ] component.

[ the total land surface to the African people while they reserved the rest for themselves. ]

The Boers are an African people as well who were also sidelined by the State administrators.

[ So for the landless, the rural poor and most South Africans, the re-possession of their ancestral homes was the primary purpose of the liberation struggle not the ballot box ]

Where would he factor in the landless & then rural turned urban poor Boers during that era who wanted & might still want repossession of their ancestral homes & land? These propagandists often do not even realize that the Boers were just as dispossessed as those they deem African.

[ The struggle was not to see Black faces replace white faces in Pretoria. ]

Of course White faces had replaced Boer faces there a long time ago. IE: Boer politicians were replaced with White South African politicians long before Black faces replaced White faces in Pretoria: a town created by the Boer people on Boer land.

[ If land seizures were to occur in South Africa, it remains to be seen whether the west and America can squeeze it like they did Zimbabwe, or raise puppets as political opposition. ]

Too bad this guy does not admit that the regimes in place are ALSO just Western puppets.

Ron. said...

Continuation.

[ It can place high taxation on the lands enough to make them unattractive for the whites to hold on to. ]

Does this moron even realize that this is the exact measure which was used against the Bantus to get them to leave their traditional areas & move into Johannesburg in order to employ them on the gold mines? The British placed high taxation [ or the hut tax ] onto the Bantus to the point where they had to look for jobs in the cities just to pay it! This increased the urban Bantu population in phenomenal numbers. While the British taxed the Bantus in order to lull them to jobs in the mines: what jobs will be waiting for those White farmers after they have been driven off of their land? None as far as I can tell.

[ There are no easy options, but inaction is not a viable option. ]

Not a viable option? Why not? At least inaction would maintain a viable farming sector while any sort of coercive action will only lead to famine. looks like he is telling us something if you can read between his lines. Inaction is not viable if one is aimed at causing a famine. Therefore the competent farmers must go [ under the ruse of land redistribution ] in order to get the sought after famine based result.