Monday, June 27, 2011

The long arc of history bends towards land restitution

Yep, I've taken the liberties with Martin Luther King's famous quote "The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice...", but I'm sure he'll forgive me.

Every developing and developed country has initiated major land reform in varying degrees to move away from the oppressive feudal systems that created landless peasants out of the majority that almost invariably ended in bloody revolutions. Here in South Africa however, we have an even more poisonous history of land grabs that were sanctioned initially by colonialism, then imperialism, followed by apartheid - one of the greatest crimes against humanity. Today, a more insidious form of land grab, unbridled gentrification of certain parts of our country, that has gained momentum since our liberation in 1994.

The Problem
A groundswell of support from our youth are now demanding economic liberation in their lifetimes!
This is hardly surprising given the stark socioeconomic disparity along racial lines that's seemed to have worsened in the last decade. The visible component of this disparity is that whites still control the major part of our economy with white men dominating corporate boards since they occupy over 91% of CEO positions, and balk at government affirmative-action initiatives. The invisible component meanwhile is not immediately obvious, but much worse, since true land ownership can be easily be masked by holding companies, fronting entities etc.

Throughout human history, land ownership has been the single biggest generator of wealth in western style governments and leveraged as a mechanism to pass down wealth from generation to generation. Furthermore, in the western tradition, governments made use of awarding and controlling land use rights to expand the power of the state. In Africa the land grab began with the tide of colonialism that swept over the entire African continent as colonial powers plundered the vast natural resources of the indigenous populations. This went on for centuries and is still continuing in various incarnations under the guise of "free trade". In SA however, this problem was further exacerbated by apartheid's draconian laws that dispossessed blacks from over 90% of their lands.

The economic significance of land ownership can be better understood by this incident in the Americas. When black slaves in the US were freed in January, 1865 they were promised 40 acres and a mule - the idea was to provide arable land to enable former slaves to be self-sufficient. The very least they could do to atone for slavery. When the presiding US President Lincoln was assassinated a few months later in April 1865, this promise was immediately revoked! This underscores the value placed on land ownership.

The Causes
Centuries of conflict over land began when colonialists first arrived on our shores but got progressively worse with each regime culminating in an orgy of land grabs during apartheid. Since our liberation, all attempts to correct this through negotiated land reform has had almost negligible success and simply touched just the tip of the iceberg. Meanwhile our mainstream media, who are supposedly acting in the public interest have been strangely silent on this crucial issue for decades!

"The Native Lands Act of 1912 prohibited the establishment of new farming operations, sharecropping, or cash rentals by blacks outside of the reserves, which made up only 7.7% of the country’s area. Inside the, reserves an artificial form of “traditional” tenure with maximum holding sizes and restrictions on land, transactions was imposed. Subsequent policies of “black spot removal” transferred the large majority of, black farmers who had legitimately owned land outside the reserves into the homelands where tenure, restrictions, high population density, and lack of capital and market access made commercial agriculture, virtually impossible. Labor laws that discriminated against blacks in favor of white workers and generous, capital subsidies contributed to successive evictions of large parts of the black population from white, farms, where they had been employed as labor tenants and farm workers (Binswanger and Deininger, 1993)."

The destruction and generations of suffering that these laws wrought on black communities, is the real evil of apartheid!
1. Not only were 80% of the population pushed onto 8% of the land that whites did not want, but black farmers where further destabilized inside these reserves as well.
2. The Native Lands Act of 1912 was only repealed in 1993, just one year before our liberation! More damning evidence that whites were not prepared to give an inch until they were forced to.
3. For almost a century, the massive land grab by the whites were "legitimized" by these inhumane laws. Since our liberation, more rules (e.g. willing buyer-willing seller) and more bureaucracy (e.g. Land Claims Commission) have been injected into the process slowing down land redistribution even further.

The Group Areas Act of 1950, lay the foundation for a systematic ethnic cleansing by apartheid government in order to speed up the land grabs. Since these "mixed areas" were a thorn in the side of the apartheid regime's false ideology of "apart-ness" and "group identity", these forced removals also ripped apart the social fabric of settled communities for generations and caused untold pain and suffering for millions of African. Coloureds and Indians. Many of the South Africa's freedom fighters that spearheaded the resistance came from these mixed communities like Seapoint, Sophiatown, District Six, Cato Manor, South End and countless other undocumented, untold stories of pain and suffering brought on by forced removals. The destabilization and destruction of these mixed communities also sought to quash any pockets of resistance to apartheid's grand plans. Another apartheid tactic was to utilize vast swaths of lands as buffer zones to keep races separated and as a means of militarily controlling these townships and in the case of uprisings.

This Act alone resulted in the wholesale expropriation of prime real estate across the entire country and displaced communities were pushed out to outlying areas far from the cities or desirable locations. More destructive however, was the resulting instability endured by millions of Africans, Coloureds and Indians for many generations, who lived in a constant state of limbo, waiting for the order to move out when alternative housing became available in one the numerous apartheid ghettos that were largely pits of poverty, crime, gangs, drugs etc. and lawlessness since the old established communities, with well defined social hierarchies that had existed for generations, were suddenly obliterated.

Thus the grand theft of apartheid intensified.

These days however, a silent gentrification of the Western Cape is currently underway since 1994, under the influence of the Democratic Alliance. This YouTube clip on the Rogues of Cape Town or Tourism is stepping on us highlights one aspect of the tragedy caused by gentrification in Cape Town and surrounding cities. Property in Cape Town in now beyond the reach of over 99% of local Africans, Coloureds and Indians. This is just the tip of the iceberg, since this phenomenon is prevalent throughout the Western Cape. The old money from the spoils of apartheid is now protected under the guise of capitalism and free markets by the government in the Western Cape seeking to turn the City of Cape Town into a "model city" for South Africa through the marginalization of blacks to prove their "white efficiency" in governance - again, more flawed thinking from a political party that was once closely aligned with the old National Party.

The Results
South Africa now has greatest per capita racial economic disparity in Africa, and quite possibly in the entire world! So its no surprise that the latest UN-HABITAT report shows South African cities topping the list of most unequal cities in the world.

The economics of centuries of artificially created land shortage coupled with the the bureaucratic morass of arcane, complex rules, regulations and documentation has taken its toll. To add insult to injury, this embarrassing situation is made worse by the fact that the historic grand theft of land now has to be redressed by the victims paying the perpetrators for land restitution! This has taken the form of an outlandish and totally failed strategy of "willing buyer, willing seller" - a cruel joke which has resulted in the entire democratization of land redistribution coming almost to a grinding halt! At this rate real land reform may only be feasible at the end of the century - 2099!

For many centuries before 1994, white owned farms were heavily subsidized by successive regimes in an attempt to expand its reach and control into the rural areas. This trend has striking similarities to the how American colonizers grabbed most of Mexico and Native American Indian Lands (compared to the early tribes that roamed the east and west) until the days of the brutal frontier expansion into what was commonly referred to as the "Wild West" where the word genocide was not even conceived yet.

The townships, locations, homelands etc. were usually located in lands that whites did not desire or was conveniently located to facilitate a migrant labor pool that usually involved long commutes. The artificial shortage of land created by these laws also resulted in inflated home prices in some of the "wealthier" black neighborhoods. After our liberation, the repeal of these laws resulted in another property bubble as blacks were finally allowed to spread into other areas. In an obscene act of double-dipping, whites largely in control of the private real estate economy, stacked the deck and further capitalized on this frenzied property bubble by selling off their homes at exorbitant prices since banks, in cahoots with wealthy real estate investors, suddenly became lax in their usually strict lending policies. This widened the vast socioeconomic disparity along racial lines since whites were in the prime position to capitalize on generations of property ownership.

Where to now?
Well it all depends...

When the youth of South Africa now demand "Economic liberation in our lifetime", the mainstream media controlled by our powerful media cartel - a relic of the old apartheid propaganda machine, are quick to label it a "land grab" instead of what it actually is in reality, LAND RESTITUTION. Strange that our media elite never exposes the obscene land grabs during apartheid or nobody is stepping forward to relinquish some of their ill-gotten gains!

With youth unemployment at stratospheric levels and a world wide recession that is still ravaging countries across the world, South African youth need to be empowered to spark that entrepreneurial flame and become more self-sufficient. Land ownership is be one way help our youth move towards greater self-sufficiency. There are many novel ways to leverage our natural resources and sustain our economy e.g. subsistence agriculture (similar to densely populated villages in China and India), eco-friendly housing - much of which is already an intrinsic part of African culture, ecotourism - allows tourists to get a real taste of South Africa away from those sterile five-star hotels etc. This will enable our younger generation to participate in building real wealth and creating family owned businesses that could be handed down to future generations.

Its imperative that the beneficiaries of apartheid's great land grab now engage honestly and expeditiously with the government in a good faith attempt to bring about true land reform or face even dire consequences.
The time already squandered since 1994 by legal wrangling, political games, finger pointing, and delay tactics were shortsighted and will certainly result in a even more disadvantaged negotiating position for current apartheid landowners. Claiming the sky is falling because of land restitution, blaming the government, denying that apartheid's land grabs were illegal, equating farming to a rocket science that blacks are incapable of, or simply saying that blacks cannot be trusted with farming land, are all insulting and grossly demeaning to millions of blacks who have borne the brunt of apartheid's evil for generations. On the other hand, acknowledging the current mess and the need for immediate action is a prerequisite to honest negotiations. As many astute observers, analysts and historians have pointed out repeatedly to the beneficiaries of apartheid, that this time around, time is not on their side.


  1. I think most white people don't have much of a problem with land reform in general. They just freak out when they think it will look like what happened in Zimbabwe (I expect most white people have family or friends or just know stories of people in Zim who had to flee after their farms were invaded, or worse). When people get scared they say and do crazy things, hence the irrational response to discussions of land reform some times.

    But if you sit down and have a sensible discussion with people, we know land reform needs to happen faster, and better. I think there are some farmers who abuse the system, but by and large farmer's organisations work with government around land reform. I think the hold up with land reform is lack of capacity in the in the land reform ministry, not resistance by farmers. There just needs to be more political will to get this done, and more support for that ministry.

    It seems very counter productive to me for white people to say "black people are trying to take the farms back by force, like in Zim, and drive us away, like in Zim!!!" (which is not true), and for black people to say "white people are clinging to their hold over power by refusing to let go of land which is rightfully outs!!!" (which is also not true). Then you just end up with a whole lot of needless conflict, when we could rather be moving forward towards resolving the problem.

    1. LOL, Dave and his brothers think Zimbabwe is all peaches and roses, and that things are busy recovering. They dont realise that their 'dreams' of land expropriation of land and mines will result in 95% unemployment. They think it will be bed and roses for everyone! Serious reality check is needed. But I dont think its possible if you smoke the crack pipe all the time.

  2. The question is not whether there needs to be land reform: the question is how to go about it.

    Unfortunately, you offer nothing substantial as a solution other than expropriation. Your assertion that "Land ownership is be (sic) one way help our youth move towards greater self-sufficiency" is a bold and unsubstatiated statement that requires sound economic evidence to support it. The "novel' ideas that you propose i.e a return to subsistence, sound romantic, but would be a retrograde step in a country which has now become a net importer of food rather than a net exporter.

    Even the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform disagrees with you on this one.

  3. @Laura June 29, 2011 3:00 AM
    "lack of capacity in the in the land reform ministry"
    I respectfully disagree that this is the main cause. One of the causes yes, but not the main cause. There is immense resistance, much of this has to do with sheer greed, since humans are inclined to see how much they can get away with. As Pollyanna as it sounds, why can't even some of the big beneficiaries of apartheid step forward to voluntarily relinquish their ill gotten gains? Its because at a fundamental level in their psyche, they want to justify that is was not gained through illegal means. This inaction has has given rise to the impatience we now see brewing among our youth. Fortunately our free speech rights enables our youth to articulate these pent up frustrations. It would be foolish and dangerous to dismiss these warning signs yet again by shooting the messenger.

    @Anonymous June 29, 2011 10:15 AM
    The minister said nothing of how the land can be best utilized by blacks! He simply admits that:
    1. The legal consultation process takes too long.
    2. There is not enough money to engage in land restitution via the "willing-buyer, willing-seller" abomination to meet any realistic targets.

    1. Yeah, due to incompetence and corruption, the legal distribution process takes too long.

      Rather recover the hundreds of billions stolen by your comrades before you want to target whites. Fat fuck.

  4. I dont disagree with your sentiment at all however I think you are irresponsible in throwing such broad statements out there without providing alternatives.

    Why dont you put together a list of all those big beneficiaries of apartheid who you think should make restitution? Suggest what type of restitution and how much and who it should go to, and who determines who it should go to.

    I would also like to know whether you think people who hold mortgages on their suburban homes should pay restitution, and how that should be calculated.

  5. I wrote a whole long comment and it wouldn't post properly, so I'll just summarise it by agreeing with what Anonymous said above!

    Also, I think there is actually a lot less resistance than you think there is. People whinge a lot, but at the end of the day if government came up with a more effective plan to speed up land reform, I don't think people would resist. They would whinge a bit, but people always whinge :)

    And farmers actually don't have a bad relationship with government, even on this issue. Farmer's groups seem to work with government pretty well.

    And as Anonymous says, what big beneficiaries are you taking about, and what would you have them do? I benefited from colonialism and apartheid, but I don't own land. Do I count? What would you have me do?

  6. @Laura
    So what you're saying is that:
    1. Farmers and the government have a good working relationship, so its really the lack of government initiative that really stymies the pace of land restitution?
    2. Like Anonymous you content that there are no big beneficiaries of apartheid that you know of. Nobody even in your circle of friends and family that "purchased" property at "market" rates or were recipients of the apartheid government subsidized housing initiatives during apartheid that has seen significant appreciation over the years?

    Interesting points, but I'm afraid it makes no sense to me. Therein lies our problem.

    1. Who are these supposed beneficiaries dude? You keep on mentioning them, but you cant name them. Therefore you are talking horseshit as usual.

  7. To the contrary, Minister Nkwinti's statements are a well measured and reasonable response to the irrational calls to expropriate land, which you seem to support in your essay.

    Nkwiti has stated that "the primary focus of land reform was on development and not just the transfer of land. This would ensure that production continued undisrupted".
    In 2009, more than half the farms bought by the government as part of its land redistribution programme for agricultural development had either failed or fallen into decline. More than 90% of the 5,9-million hectares of land the state bought for emerging farmers was not productive.
    It is this question about land development that is woefully lacking in your essay.

    Nkwiti’s comments are aligned with the constitutional law of the land, protecting property rights: ""What is happening is that you have a constitutional order in the country which you must comply with, which protects private property. If you want to expedite movement even including changing the property clause in the constitution, you have to consult South Africans -- it's a long process".

    It is simplistic, inflammatory and irresponsible to point fingers at the landowners as the ones dragging their feet and insisting that they are solely responsible for slowing the reform process. That may be the case in some instances, and you are welcome to back that up with specifics rather than sweeping generalizations of “massive resistance and sheer greed”; But your statements fly in the face of those of the agricultural unions, who have expressed time and again their willingness to engage and support (and indeed call for urgent progress) in land reform.

    It is clear that the government itself is also at least partly responsible for the slow process; this as well as the failings of the office of valuer-general is the “red tape” to which Nkwinti refers.
    Nonetheless, the renewed willingness of government and the Agricultural unions to work together in resolving the land reform issue is very encouraging.

    for a glimpse at the other perspective.

    Unfortunately, your commentary is long on rhetoric but pitifully short on solutions: it's an unbalanced, longwinded finger-pointing exercise that adds nothing to the debate.

  8. Oh man, I don't know why blogspot won't post my comments, it deleted it again!!!

    To summarise:

    1. I expect resistance from farmer to parting with their farms plays some role, but not the biggest role. I think it is just a tough problem, land redistribution. Even without considering white people at all, questions about who land is returned to and how it is returned (communally?) are tough, and helping people maximise the use of that land. Land reform needs to happen, faster than it has been, but I don't think crying "expropriation" helps anything much. To tackle a tough problem like this you need proper numbers and details and wisdom about what the issues are, not populistic posing.

    2. No, that is not what we are saying at all! (That there were no big beneficiaries) We are posing the question - who would be considered big beneficiaries? And what should they do? Should there have been some land reform tax or something on white homeowners in the 90s? Should people not be allowed to own more than one residential property? I don't know! We are asking!

    (On another note, I keep hearing about people abusing the RDP house system, having more than one RDP house and renting them out etc. Come on, how can that be???)

    1. Or the fact that 90% of distributed farms have failed. Then they sell the land back to whites for a fraction of the cost. Dave probably wants to expropriate those farms too.

  9. @Laura
    Expropriation is the only fair and expedient way to reverse the centuries of expropriation under white supremacy and to avert bloody confrontations over land.

    Whenever, you ask for solutions other that expropriation, I cannot help but think of all the games and delay tactics the DA and their sidekicks - Afriforum, Solidarity, Right2Know etc., are fond of playing in other transformation initiatives like affirmative action, education reform, media reform, land reform ...

    As I mentioned before Laura, its crucial to seize this window of opportunity and show good faith in dealing with the volatile issue of land reform, honestly and speedily to ensure that we build enough trust to negotiate.

    1. Bloody confrontation? Do you realllly want a second Bloedrivier? You will get fucked. Again. Remember the last time 16,000 commies went up against 600 boere? The commies got fucked royal.

  10. @Unknown
    "including changing the property clause in the's a long process"
    Unfortunately, I'm not sure if the Constitution protects ownership of property obtained through inhumane laws like the Group areas Act etc.

    The "long process" that you allude to is far quicker than negotiating the bureaucratic legal hurdles intentionally or unintentionally setup by the Land Claims Commission and the rest of these legal offices and bodies and agricultural unions and lobby groups et al.
    As Benjamin Disraeli aptly put it - “Almost everything that is great has been done by youth.” and our youth rightly demand economic liberation in their lifetime!

    1. BTW "long process" reference is a direct quite from the minister of land reform. Your ideas for land reform are clearly at odds with your ANC master, Harris.
      Biting the hand that feeds you is not always smart. Juju will tell you that ; ).
      Your race based rant clearly shows you have no idea how the process works at all or where the inefficiencies lie. Shallow analysis.
      Now that the ANCYL has been effectively neutered by it's parent body and Zuma, your knee jerk call for expropriation now looks like a policy document for EFF : )

  11. Well, Mr Harris, I think you have overplayed your hand here and revealed your true agenda.

    "Unfortunately, I'm not sure if the Constitution protects ownership of property obtained through inhumane laws like the Group areas Act etc.",
    This is an sophomoric statement.
    Of course property rights are enshrined in the Constitution, as Minister Nkwinti correctly articulates. Property rights apply to all South Africans, not just certain sections of the population, whatever you may feel about it. Expropriating land without compensation grossly violates fundamental property rights. You seem to want to apply this violation on a wholesale basis to very specific sections of the population based purely on racial profile.

    This attitude sounds awfully familiar to me.

    If you don't respect property rights, then why stop at land? Why not confiscate bank accounts, retirement annuities, motor vehicles, pension funds etc. etc. By your arguments, these all fall under "ill-gotten gains", do they not?
    Why not also strip them of their academic qualifications? Were not these also acquired through unfair advantage?
    How about taking away their right to vote while you are at it?
    Perhaps that would level the playing field for your liking.

    Like Malema, you are essentially criminalizing 20% of South African citizens. This archaic rhetoric that two wrongs somehow make a right is irrational, childlike and dangerous thinking.

    Yes, we are all frustrated by land reform process, but it's at least a negotiated democratic process. Let's work on how we can improve it. Nwkinti, to his credit, has made several suggestions in that regard in his recent response.

    What you are proposing is grand larceny, guaranteeing economic ruin, and in essence, boils down to a form of punitive ethnic cleansing.

  12. Anonymous JULY 3, 2011 10:54 PM
    Hmm, I seem to have hit a nerve there. LOL
    Lets focus on land shall we, and not give the ANCYL other ideas now OK? ;-)

    Anyway, even the ANCYL contends that the Constitution needs to be changed by a two thirds majority so you still have time to play your little games. Not much though...TICK-TOCK.

    1. The ANC is losing power, its busy imploding. You will NEVER have the 2/3rds majority you need to push your crackpipe ideas. So go smoke your crackpipe.

    2. ANCYL?
      Yes, what a force they have turned your to be. LOL.
      You seem to have list your blog funding, Dave. Were you fired along with Floyd and Juju?

  13. Dave Harris can't debate. He does not answer direct questions posed by the two contibutors above, but rather sticks to rhetoric and borders on name calling in his last post.

  14. "LOL"??? What an excellent rebuttal!

    On the contrary, Mr Harris, you are the one playing games by pushing populist ideology that violates the rule of law and simply does not stand up to even the most superficial scrutiny.
    You are also clearly no economist.

    At least you concede that expropriation of land is unconstitutional, not that this seems to bother you much.

    Making sweeping statements veiled as fact, like
    "Expropriation is the only fair and expedient way to reverse the centuries of expropriation under white supremacy and to avert bloody confrontations over land" without even bothering to consider alternatives nor the potentially devastating consequences of such a radical policy is pure folly.

    This is deadly stuff: nothing at all to "LOL" about.

    You seem unable to supply straight answers, provide specifics, or otherwise defend your proposals in any cogent way, preferring rather to resort to veiled threats of bloodshed and revolution.

    I am afraid you are convincing noone.

  15. I think you misunderstand me (and possibly some of the other commenters) if you thing I am against land reform. I'm not against land reform, I think it needs to happen, and faster and better than it has been. And if some elements need to be introduced to speed things up, so be it.

    But just to say "expropriation!!!" like it is the answer to anything? It isn't the answer. Okay, say you take away every farm owned by a white person. then what? It still doesn't remove major difficulties in the system such as who and how the land is returned to, and helping new land owners make effective use of the land, and settling disputes over who rightfully
    owns land, and dealing with cases of communally owned land.

    In fact, I read an article this morning that said that land reform cases that deal with private land are usually closed much quicker than cases involving public land (

    Just saying "expropriation!" isn't an answer, what we need is discussions of the actual practicalities of dealing with land reform (if that includes expropriation, lets discuss that), and actual proper information about the state of things and successes and failings in the system so far, by people who are actually involved in the land reform process.

    And also, what I really don't see how land reform is going to help our youth unemployment problem. Unless the thinking is that many unemployed young people in cities will instead stay in rural areas and farm?

  16. But Laura, YOU may understand the urgency of land reform, but the majority of whites don't! Expropriation is the ONLY solution because history has consistently proven that whites will only change when they are FORCED to!!!
    - The ANC has to resort to armed struggle since peaceful protest didn't not work.
    - The international community (mainly prompted by progressive Americans) had to impose strict sanctions in order to get the apartheid government to finally hold a referendum.
    - Whites consistently voted for the National Party and continue to vote along racial lines after the NP morphed into the DA after our liberation.
    - Whites stubbornly refused to even integrate schools until after our liberation.
    - The Group Areas Act was only repealed after our liberation.
    - Whites continue to resist affirmative action initiatives in spite of the overwhelming number of white CEOs.
    The list goes on....

    Pray, what makes you claim that whites truly want land reform after almost TWO DECADES of gaming the system? I'm dying to know.

    1. ROFLOL, you believe your bullshit I assume. You can have my land, if you pay for it. I paid for it, ALL farmers paid for it. We didnt get the land for nothing. You probably believe that white people have access to unlimited funds via the ATM's right?

      Eh, land expropriation can suck my dick.

    2. Ok,you seem to know everything about what you want to know, but little about what you should know when attempting to write an article like this! You should know that this dribble is being used as reference mid 2013, and you have thus contributed to the embarrasment of a fellow black Afican because he took this as fact! You just want things for free! Thats whats at the heart of your argument! You are not interested in the actual events, nor the facts, nor the explanations! You sir, are all about greed! I bet you haven't even considered that you may not be on the receiving end of this distribution! Or is this piece your attempt at joining the "struggle" and gaining your "credentials", thus making you a cadre and thus worthy of receiving things that the correct "native" people should have received, but will now be "redistributed" to you because of all your "fight against the whites"!
      You are a shining example of whats wrong with the new SA and precisely the reason that your approach won't work. You think that the actual land is the prize. As mentioned by previous comments, the land needs to be worked in order for it to provide! This does not seem to feature much in your dribble and I consider this -as most others of your particular form of redistribution colleagues fail to understand- to be a glaring ommission of common sense! It's already been proven that just giving you land doesn't work! You fail to understand that some work needs to be done, and as the new owners it must surely be done by someone else, so who is going to do it? "PS: call Govt and ask why the didn't include free labour?"!
      Why don't you spend some of this hatred energy on finding out why the already appropriated farms are not productive anymore? That atleast would be contributing! Instead of making trouble with nonsence statements that you can be called out on so easily? Lets not forget you have a reputation to atleast try and hold onto. Or are you going to carry on thinking that the propoganda material issued by ANC circa 1985, that you now base your history on is actually factually correct historical literature? If you want to talk about reform, lets rather talk about the South African native! Lets talk about how he allows a regime to continually steal money allocated to his enliftment from poverty, in such extravagant ways as "compound nkandla", yet still blindly supports these afforts? Lets ask the hard questiens about why black on black cruelty always outstrips cross race cruelty? You sir just don't want to confront you latest enemy and prefer to spit untruths about something that was bad no doubt, but pales in comparrioson to what you have coming your way if you think that Zimbabwe is a white mans nightmare and consider Dick's antics to be justifiable! Your ANC is leading you down that road and you may just be too caught up blaming everyone else to see your country being fed to the dogs!

  17. I don't know why but my computer sometimes won't upload comments to your blog (hence the delays between posts sometimes).

    I really don't want to defend white people, because a lot of the time we are shocking. But really at the end of the day, white people are just people. We rail against affirmative action when our young people can't find jobs, because we think affirmative action is to blame (it isn't, of course, it is just that there are way too few jobs!), we freak out about stories we hear from friends and relatives in Zim, who ended up forming commando style militia to protect themselves when they were under attack from war vets (when the same thing actually happened to black farmers if they were not Zanu-pf aligned - I have a black friend from Zim whose family had to heavily protect their farm), we freak out about farm murders, because farm murders are very scary, and the fear can be twisted into feeling that we are under attack (which we aren't, violent crime effects everyone in SA).

    I once sat in a place between an American-Romanian (or something like that) girl, and another white South African lady, and the American girl started complaining about affirmative action. And I really just didn't want to have a fight with these two people I was stuck inbetween. But then to my astonishment the South African lady very politely told the Romanian girl why affirmative action is important, and how she has been involved as a medical professional in affirmative action bursary schemes and how important it is to look beyond school marks to consider someone's potential in spite of difficult school and home environments, etc...

    I went to a Dispatch Dialogue (these public conversations the Daily Dispatch holds, the newspaper in my city) a few years ago, where we had to break into groups and discuss things, then report back on what we had come up with. One of the groups was I think a black lady who worked in the municipality, and a black guy who I think identified himself as unemployed, and this little old white lady, she must have been around 70! And it was the sweetest thing, at the end when they reported back she said that participating in that event was the first time she felt a member of the new South Africa (or something like that).

    So I guess what I'm saying is that although white people can be pretty shocking (as can I, I battle with tough questions about these issues for myself), we are not just one group, we are lots of people with different experiences and different positions on things, and also that people themselves can change.

    And any person, when they feel attacked, gets defensive. And thats part of the response to the land reform cries as the moment. When the YL speaks about expropriation people get defensive and scared and angry. But if you speak to many white people about it in a context where they don't feel threatened, probably more people than you expect will agree that it needs to happen faster and better than it is happening now.

    (On a side note - I wish someone would bring actual numbers to the table on the land reform discussion. How much land is in private and state lands? How much has been given over already? How much still needs to be? What are the hold ups to far and how are they being addressed, etc?)

    (On another side note, comments on online newspapers seem to bring out the worst stuff in people, I try not to read too many because I start to despair. I really hope that it is just that people with more extreme views tend to post on those sites, I hope if you polled average SAfrican people there would be relatively fewer shocking opinions!!)

  18. Laura, I appreciate your commentary and questions.

    If I may make a suggestion:
    There is an excellent paper (2010 Masters thesis) regarding the land reform in SA just out of NMMU: it has most of the stats for which you seek, and provides a good background and a thorough balanced assessment and critique of where we are in the land reform process.

    I think it may satisfy a lot of your questions, as the paper reviews actual data regarding the key issues land of restitution and redistribution, and reviews the weaknesses and strengths of each of the several systems which have been applied since 1994. Even more importantly, it also identifies the key logjams in the current approach to land reform and offers several solutions.
    (It also deals specifically with the question of expropriation).

    I suspect that you may find it contrasts quite refreshingly with this rather polemic offering from Mr Harris.

  19. Oh thanks! I'll go have a look now.

    I also read a great column on land reform on the Daily Dispatch site today:

  20. Your debate is exciting - We're hosting a dialogue on our website on The role of restitution in South Africa and also connecting folks on Facebook. You might be interested in the comments so far...It would be great if you'd send your opinion or comments -
    Best wishes
    Sarah and Deon - Restitution Foundation

  21. Awright then Deon, I've left some comments on your website
    Yours is a good faith attempt at kick-starting important discussions but why do I have this nagging feeling that we're about to get sideswiped by a steam train?

  22. Your dream ain't gonna happen Davey old son...Read the headlines lately? Even Zuma has finally taken a (heretical?) stance against are so 20th Century, its are even more commiecal than braam fischer (even in the day when he was too young and idealistic to have realised communism's ultimate bankruptcy, but hell you're not even a shadow of his QC Barrister brain LOLOLOL!) Missing apartheid old boy? Yes you are! Just like your bigotted black racist pal Julius, you wish you were back then so you had something to fight against! It's a done bun dude, we bought the ANC at Codesa, signed, sealed and delivered.....finish en klaar...suck it up dude....Mwhahahaha

  23. As crazy as it seems, there are millions of SA folks for whom disposessing the farmers who they see as 'fat cats' is far more satisfying than staying employed and not going hungry...

    Revenge is a huge motivator that nobody wants to even mention is this discussion, yet it plays the key role in everything?

    Presumably, simply seeking revenge is dishonourable but dressed up as justice, revenge can be sought everywhere!!!

    1. Indeed, white-hate is what its all about.

    2. As crazy as it might seem, it wasn't me! So how are you going to meet out this punishment if not to the wrong people? None of us condone what happened mate! It wasn't fair or just! But how can you possibly blame every white person-elder I could understand, but the rest of us?- and expect us to cough up to support the lifestyle you now think you deserve just because you are a black person? How big is this ego of entitlement you posess? Will you only be satisfied once all white people are destitute? Is that the extent of your hatred? Do you honestly think that will benefit you or your cause? No it won't bud! It all happened a long time ago. The saying forgive and forget was not just strung together overnight. It's a time proven, humane solution to injustices perpetrated by people long dead! You may retort with the sons of the fathers statement, but where does that leave us? It wasn't my father, that I can assure you! This kind of hate speech does nothing to fix anything. If that is what you would like to do? If not, then you are just prepping for a fight. One that will leave this country much worse off than it already is. We don't want to fight, we just want to live! Hopefully in a society that seems fair-even if it's not due to past injustices, we still understand why the unfairness- but to want to take everything away because it's something you want but won't expend any energy in obtaining honestly, then your argument leaves the relm of fair distribution and joins hitler's ideology of supremacy beyond reproach! You know how much everyone like him!

    3. South Africans do not deserve things they are black, they deserve things because of the horrible ills the white dictatorship did to them. They deserve restitution.

      And are all whites in South Africa farmers? There are only 35,000 commercial (mostly white) farmers.

      Whites owe black for the nation we built and gave them, they should be thanking us we don't do to them what Hitler did to the foreign minorities in Germany who took over that nation.

      You can call apartheid long time ago, doesn't matter if it was, Restitution is still in order.

      Forgive and forget only applies when it is whites stealing land from blacks. Where is forgive and forget for the sanctions on Zimbabwe, ahhh, it doesn't exist because he is black and his "victims" are white.

      There is no way you can have peace in South Africa, I predict South Zimbabwe if there is not serious, fast track land reform. 35,000 farmers, rich and white. 800,000 farm workers poor and black with no chance of owning land. Were promised their land back, waited patiently for well over 20 years now. This country is on the brink, and if you can't see that, probably you don't, then you are going to be unpleasantly surprised when you start to see widespread farm invasions. The army can't stop 800,000 people, it only took 50,000 to overthrow the government in egypt an open dictatorship and half that to kill gaddafi.

      And lets not mince words, the white farmer didn't honestly obtain those lands, they stole them. The question is how to transfer that over to the majority without becoming Zimbabwe, but I don't see that happening.

  24. Urg, so much propaganda. Dave Harris is a tool. Dunno if he sucks the info out of his thumb or his dick.

  25. "analysts and historians have pointed out repeatedly to the beneficiaries of apartheid, that this time around, time is not on their side"

    So... where are these beneficiaries. You keep telling us about these 'supposed' people, but it seems nobody can find any information on it.

  26. What an unadulterated load of ill-informed and blatantly racist garbage.

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