The chairperson of the Afrikanerbond Jaco Schoeman says that owing to the present government’s inability to finalise land reform in the spirit of the negotiated settlement – of pre-1994 – the issue “has now become a political football which is getting out of hand”. He says that the exclusion of tribal land from the expropriation initiative spells trouble.
Schoeman, speaking just weeks after hosting President Cyril Ramaphosa to an Afrikanerbond function, said the issue was being abused for political power and ideological agendas.
“The talk about land and reform has now simply become a political football, because the statements being made do not correspond with the facts available,” he said.
Various economists had warned that the ANC’s fear of losing an election is forcing it to promote populist statements “in an attempt to retain key voters”, he charged.
Noting that from the outset of the debate about land expropriation without compensation, there were warnings that it would have unforeseen circumstances.
The Afrikanerbond said superficial assurances that the economy should not be harmed “fall far too short”. The reality was the economy was already staggering under various stresses and strains, including policy uncertainties.
The sudden about-face over the land under the control of traditional leaders increased the pressure inside the political pressure cooker and created “even more polarisation”.
The about-turn on nearly 14 million hectares of traditional land excluded millions of poor people from security of tenure - without title deeds to their land. In summary, millions were being excluded from ownership of land.
It now appeared that “white-owned land” would be targeted instead.
“Racially driven expropriation targeting white-owned land will be inevitable unless there is great responsibility and caution in dealing with this issue. However, the actions and remarks of the past few days make us deeply uneasy.”
Noting that Ramaphosa had addressed a “bondsraad” on 7 June at which he said that if land reform was well handled, it would “help bind the nation together and produce benefits for everyone”, the Afrikanerbond also noted that he had warned that if it went pear-shaped, “it will simply re-distribute resentment, damage the economy and destroy social peace”.
The bond said that political pressure-cooker politics over land could then “warp the greater reform issues”.
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