South Africa Targets First White-Owned Farms for Government Seizure

Brittany M. Hughes | August 20, 2018
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The South African government has started the process of forcibly seizing white farmers’ property for redistribution to the country’s black natives, taking aim at two pieces of property for its first confiscations, according to local reports.

City Press reports two white-owned farms are the first on the government’s target list of land plots they plan to confiscate without due process in court, simply because the landowners are white. While the government claims it does plan to offer some compensation for one of the farms, their offer is a mere one-tenth of what the owner says his land is worth.

Akkerland Boerdery says he wants 200 million rand (about $18.7 million) for his game farm, a price he set based on an independent valuation assessment. The government, on the other hand, says it’s willing to pay a mere 20 million rand.

What’s worse, the entire transaction – i.e., the forcible seizure of Boerdery’s property – is set to go down without a court date for Boerdery to dispute the government's plan, a move the government says is a way to “test” its ability to confiscate white landowners’ property under the current South African constitution. 

"While government is willing to pay for the land, the Akkerland case comes as the ANC’s top structures have decided over the past weeks that government must urgently proceed with test cases in order to test the concept of expropriation without compensation," City Press reports.

Annelize Crosby, legal adviser of agricultural body AgriSA, said the Boerdery case is “unique” because the landowners “were not given the opportunity to first dispute the claim in court, as the law requires.”

The government’s latest move comes just a few weeks after President Cyril Ramaphosa said the African National Congress will "finalise a proposed amendment” to the nation’s constitution allowing the government to seize white farmers’ lands without compensation and redistribute it among local black residents as a form of reparations for apartheid.

While current South African law already allows the government to seize land if they provide "just and equitable compensation," Ramaphosa claims stealing land from whites without compensation is allowable under the nation's constitution if it's "in the public interest."