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is increasingly clear that the ANC-led government of President Cyril Ramaphosa
has, with respect, no clue how to deal with the fallout over the adoption of a
motion to consider land expropriation without compensation.
councillors are victoriously leading their followers to the Promised Land,
white racists have found a new hero in a nutty Australian minister who treats
them like refugees, and the DA is warning its supporters in Fourways that the
land occupiers will come for their townhouses next.
Monday the police had to fire teargas and rubber bullets at protestors in Hermanus
in the Western Cape – many of them identified as EFF supporters – who came to
occupy the land. A factory was burned, flats and cars were stoned and razed, a
police station was set alight, and foreign shopkeepers were assaulted and
chased away. The majority of victims were black.
rewind to December 2017: Ramaphosa’s camp had just won the ANC’s national
elective conference with the narrowest of margins (179 votes) and was exhausted
after having to physically protect every delegate to ensure their votes weren’t
would not be an exaggeration to say that during the rest of the conference there was zero to little
appetite for policy debates, and expropriation without compensation became the
battle cry of the losing Zuma faction.
euphoria of the moment created a vacuum for the ANC to adopt a policy that they
had fought against tooth and nail when it was first suggested in the
legislature by the EFF.
course this does not mean that Ramaphosa, nor every right-thinking South
African who understands our history of brutal exploitation, does not and should
not want to expedite the process of land reform and economic transformation of
spatial design of Hermanus and surrounding areas is a prime example of how the
legacy of apartheid continues to flourish: the white people live in "main
town" Hermanus, black people in Zwelihle and coloured people in Hawston.
as almost every lawyer or academic who have opined on the matter by now have
expressed: you don’t have to change the Constitution to expropriate land, even
the corruption and get the rural development department to actually function
and you will see results before next year’s election.
adoption of the EFF-sponsored motion by the ANC was undoubtedly the result of
two political considerations: offering a boon to the defeated ANC faction to
keep them "inside the tent" and luring back the EFF to Luthuli House by
making them feel special.
is unfortunately of little consequence to the mechanic whose car was torched in
Hermanus on Monday by protesters hungry for land. Ramaphosa’s promise that
"as we take the land, we must make sure that the economy and food security
is not compromised" rings hollow to the workers and owners of the factory
that was burnt down or the Somali shopkeepers whose livelihood was destroyed.
and his government are no longer in control of this matter and a prolonged constitutional
debate by the review committee in Parliament will not deter land occupiers from
claiming their stake.
similar protests in Centurion, Sandton, Cape Town and Buffalo City, it is now
clear that that SAPS will have to deal with the fallout over land expropriation
until our politicians have made up their minds.
means more rubber bullets, teargas, broken glass and shattered dreams in the
weeks and months ahead.
isn’t fair or morally defensible. As long as we have property rights, the
police have no option but to act against trespassers.
should cancel his morning jogs for a visit to Hermanus and Zwelihle this week.
This issue is fast becoming the hallmark of his tenure – he should be seen to
be at the frontline dealing with this very precarious matter.
- Basson is editor of News24. Follow him on Twitter @adriaanbasson
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