EFF To Zimbabwe: Never Return Land To ‘White Settlers’

zimbabwe victoria falls

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has called on Zimbabwe never to return land to “white settlers” in a statement following Robert Mugabe’s resignation from the Zimbabwe presidency.

“This is one legacy of President Mugabe that must be advanced and protected at all costs.”— Economic Freedom Fighters

On Wednesday, the EFF called on the world to welcome Mugabe’s resignation, which included full immunity, saying it was the perfect outcome for peace and stability in Zimbabwe in the post-Mugabe era. It also praised his land programme.

“We call on Zimbabweans never to undo the land program[me] or return the land to white settler communities. This is one legacy of President Mugabe that must be advanced and protected at all costs,” the statement said.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.za/2017/11/23/eff-to-zimbabwe-never-return-land-to-white-settlers_a_23286116/

One thought on “EFF To Zimbabwe: Never Return Land To ‘White Settlers’

  1. Is the ANC’s policy of expropriation of land without compensation warrented?

    “No political democracy can survive and flourish if the mass of our people remains in poverty, without land, without tangible prospects for a better life. Attacking poverty and deprivation must, therefore, be the first priority of a democratic government” These were the sentiments of the Reconstruction and Development Programme of 1994.

    Its been 23 years since these words were penned and a vast majority of the South African population still lives in poverty. According to the Poverty Trends Report for 2006 to 2015, 30.4 million people (55.5% of the population) is living in poverty, with 13.8 million living below poverty line of R441 per person per month.

    Poverty is just one among a host of challenges facing South Africa. The country is also faced with the scourge of unemployment, inequality and slow economic growth, all of which, if not dealt with decisively, pose a threat to the economic, political and social stability of the country.

    All the government’s efforts to tackle these challenges have not produced the desired results to date. But before we attempt to correct and address these challenges, it is important for us to discover where they come from. Moreover, for us to correctly understand and contextualize the key challenges of unemployment, poverty, and inequality facing our country today, we need to understand South Africa’s Apartheid heritage. The bitter fruits of unemployment, poverty, and inequality we are currently tasting as a country are the result of South Africa racist heritage and the post-1994 government’s failure to address the root of these challenges. South Africa got to where it is today by ingesting and digesting a false religiopolitical belief system, of white supremacy, which was instilled in the hearts and minds of both black and white people alike, by the Apartheid government.

    Our country has a long-standing heritage of racial conflict which goes as far back as the First Kaffir war: the first major confrontation between settlers and the Bantu people in 1779[1]. In 1907 when Gandhi organized civil disobedience campaigns among the Indian community in defiance to the Anglo and Boer racial oppression of people Apartheid or at least the servitude of blank and non-Europeans to the British and Boer was already in full swing[2]. In 1912, the African National Congress (“ANC”) itself was founded in direct response to the already existing oppression of African people by the Dutch and British settlers[3].

    Long before the “Architect of Apartheid”, Hendrik .F. Verwoerd, was born or ever occupied the office of Prime Minister the basic foundation and principles of Apartheid were ready laid when he emerged as a leader[4]. For example, the Masters and Servants Amendment Act of 1926, which removed African’s right to strike[5] already introduced when Verwoerd become Prime Minister in 1958.

    Apartheid has been alive in South Africa for over three hundred years, or ever since the Dutch and British settlers set foot on South Africa’s shores. But what is Apartheid? According to the Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary, Apartheid was “social system in South Africa in which black people and people from other racial groups did not have the same political and economic rights as white people and were forced to live separately from white people”[6].

    This definition defines Apartheid as many understand it, as a political system of separate development that was based on discrimination along racial lines. Scores of authors, political and social commentators have spoken widely about the National Party’s racial laws and policies. But very few dwell on the underlying values and beliefs which gave raise and credence to Apartheid. A small minority of people have awakened to the fact that Verwoerd’s race-based policies were actually an expression of his and broader Afrikaner Nationalists belief system.

    Apartheid and Land Expropriation

    A narrative of South Africa’s history by Unesco illustrates that a central pillar of the Afrikaner belief system was the expropriation of land which goes as far back as the 1600s.

    When the Dutch settled at the Cape in 1652 on behalf of the Dutch East India Company under the command of Jan van Riebeeck. The company intended the settlement simply as a staging post for India-bound ships, but van Riebeeck needed cattle to supply the ships with meat, and this brought the Dutch into inevitable conflict with the San and with the Khoi, who possessed large herds of cattle and who resisted Dutch intrusion in their lands. Within a few years, the problem of land, which was to bedevil relations between white and black for many generations, had plainly intruded on the scene[1].

    The settler community increased in size over the years and more immigrants, including some French Huguenots, came from Europe. The desire for more land increased and some moved north from the Cape. The first party of Dutch, led by Jan Coetzee, crossed the Orange River in 1760. There they came into contact with the Xhosa people who had been settled between the Limpopo and Orange rivers for several hundreds of years. In 1779 what is known as the first Kaffir war broke out; it ended in defeat for the Xhosa, and the River Fish became the boundary of the new Boer territory. Xhosa resistance, however, continued over succeeding decades[2].

    Slavery and racial discrimination was a fundamental part of the Dutch settler society and it was part of their tradition, to make journeys or treks in search of new land and conquer people in these lands as the need arose, and this is what they did in 1837[3].

    This is known as the Great Trek. A large majority of the Dutch migrated from the Cape to Natal through the Drakensberg Mountains and some others went north to Transvaal. Those who to Natal found, however, when they reached there that they were faced with opposition from a nation that had been reorganized into a powerful force by their leader, Shaka, but were at this time ruled by Dingaan. Several confrontations took place and several new Voortrekker settlements were destroyed; the most important battle took place at Ncome River (Blood River) on 16 December 1838, when the Voortrekker army, led by Andries Pretorius, was able to defeat the Zulu army[4].

    The Voortrekkers seemed to be fairly secure in Natal and they drew up a constitution, placing the sovereignty of their new republic in an elected assembly of twenty-four white men, known as the Volksraad (parliament). Their security was short-lived, however, for soon Zulu refugees began to return to their old homelands and, increasingly, to outnumber the Boers. Some Zulu’s could be absorbed into the force, but the numbers became a threat to the new republic. Accordingly, the Volksraad decided to move the Africans out of Natal into the area south of the River Mtamunna. In 1842, the British governor of Cape Colony decided, first, to occupy Portal Natal and later, to annex the whole of Natal itself. The following year the Volksraad of Natal accepted British colonization of their republic and most of the Voortrekkers left the colony on the second stage of the Great Trek. The Voortrekkers moved northwards where several groups of their compatriots had previously settled, across the Orange River. An agreement was made between them and the British in 1852, at the Sand River Convention, which established the Voortrekkers’ right to African territory. The agreement made provision for the Voortrekkers to buy guns while simultaneously prohibiting Africa from so. This agreement was the deciding factor in the conflict for territory between the Voortrekkers and African’s who occupied the land north of the Orange River. It eventual led the defeat of the Pedi and the Venda, and the expropriation of their land, as well as the creation of new Afrikaner Transvaal Republic, where racial inequality was an article of faith in its constitution, and the Transvaal was as the Voortrekkers promised land[5].

    Apart from the Great Trek, the number of settlers in South Africa increased; and more and more natively owned land came under threat first by the British at the Cape, and then by the Germans, who proceeded to acquire it by purchase as well as by force. The expropriation of African land was completed by the South African Government after 1920[6]. These inroads by the Afrikaner and European settlers into South Africa’s inland resulted in many African’s finding themselves landless and disempowered in their own native land.

    Diamonds were found in the Orange and Vaal rivers in Griqualand in 1867-68. These discoveries further exacerbated conflicts over land and the displacement of native Africa. When diamonds in the Vaal were found. The land was at that time under the control of the Orange Free State, but Britain was able to re-possess it in 1871. Europeans, Coloureds, and Africans poured into the area, the Africans generally becoming the and the Europeans prospectors or ‘diggers[7]. These discoveries occurred at a time when the Europeans had laid claims to great parts of the land in southern Africa and, consequently, many Africans were landless and in search of employment. Many features of South African life during apartheid, such as passes and job reservation, originated in this period of upheaval[8].

    When the Nationalist Party came to power in 1948, post-war African nationalism was preparing the way for independence in most African countries. These currents naturally influenced Africans in South Africa. The groundwork for apartheid had been prepared by a long period of settlement by Europeans which the war years had consolidated, although they also helped to call the whole system in question[9].

    However, Nationalist Party policy, based on apartheid and the continuation of white domination, appealed to some idealists who could not stomach African equality but hoped for a way out of the impasse that would allow both separation and equality. The party promised the rural white population that more attention would be paid to the problems of agriculture; to the poor whites in towns it promised further restrictions on black competition; and to all Afrikaners, urban and rural alike, it promised the end of British supremacy[10].

    The Nationalist Party policy of Separate development was primarily based on land; the long conflict between Africans and whites was settled with the military defeat of the Africans. Henceforth land would be unilaterally allocated by a white government representing white interests[11].

    The Botha-Smuts government had laid the foundations of segregation in the Native Land Act of 1913, which restricted the Africans’ right to own land although without specifying where the restrictions would apply. Africans were not permitted to acquire land or any interest in land outside the scheduled ‘Native areas’ except with the consent of the governor-general. The Native Trust and Land Act (1936) ‘released’ additional land to Africans and set up a South African Trust which could acquire land in ‘African areas’[12].

    Apartheid or separateness as the Afrikaners called it was built on this unequal division of land: 86.3 to remain under the permanent control of whites, and 13.7 which will eventually be passed over to Africans[13].These advancements solidified the belief that white people were better than the non-European’s as blacks were dispossessed of the land and treated as if they were foreigners in their own country[14].

    Our Way Forward

    Economically, apartheid has had and still has an adverse effect on the economic and social structure of our country. Metaphorically, the current structure of our society can be compared to a tree. At its root is the false doctrine of white supremacy and forced expropriation of land; its trunk the race-based policies and propaganda which gave life and power to the Apartheid and disempowered blacks South Africans. The problems of unemployment, poverty, inequality and muted economic growth which we now face are the fruits.

    For the country to reap new fruits, we need to fix the problem at its root. Expropriation of land without compensation may very well be the first step towards an economically emancipated, free and fair democratic South Africa.

    [1] (Unesco, 1974)

    [2] (Unesco, 1974)

    [3] (Unesco, 1974)

    [4] (Unesco, 1974)

    [5] (Unesco, 1974)

    [6] (Unesco, 1974)

    [7] (Unesco, 1974)

    [8] (Unesco, 1974)

    [9] (Unesco, 1974)

    [10] (Unesco, 1974)

    [11] (Unesco, 1974)

    [12] (Unesco, 1974)

    [13] (Unesco, 1974)

    [14] (Unesco, 1974)

    [1] The Unesco Press Paris 1974, Racism and apartheid in southern Africa

    [2] The Unesco Press Paris 1974, Racism and apartheid in southern Africa

    [3] African National Congress, A brief history of the African National Congress http://www.anc.org.za/content/brief-history-anc

    [4] J.J. Venter, H.F. Verwoerd: Foundational aspects of his thought, Potchefstroom University for CHE Potchefstroom

    [5] The Unesco Press Paris 1974, Racism and apartheid in southern Africa

    [6] Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary

    [7] Learner book Chapter 1 – Apartheid Museum

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *