New Zealand based South African expats fear civil war over land grabs

Published:  22 Aug at 6 PM
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South African expats settled in New Zealand are urging their home country’s government to think again over land grabs.

Concern ramped up when rumours hit the international media about the South African government’s undertaking of illegal land expropriation, with the bitter memory of the same action in Zimbabwe, then known as Rhodesia, stirring up residents and expats alike. As a result, South African expatriates living and working in New Zealand are urging all world countries to stand up for landowners’ rights. The gist of the rumours is that the government is seizing farms and other land without giving the appropriate compensation to owners, thus redistributing formerly white-owned land to blacks.

A government audit held last year reported that 72 per cent of South Africa’s farmland is owned by white South Africans, even although they only make up some nine per cent of the total population. As a result, the country’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has committed to an official programme of land appropriation, with leaders of his political party promising to test the constitutional law which states reasonable compensation must be paid to the landowner. The present day land seizures are based on a view of the law which allows confiscation if it ‘rebalances’ past racially discriminatory laws. Should the seizures fail, government are threatening to change the law.

Expatriates who’ve made South Africa their home for decades are likely to be the first affected by the government’s push. Those interviewed by major media outlets stated they understood the reasons behind land appropriation, simply because prior to 1995 no black person was allowed to own land. However, it’s the way it’s being done which is causing anger and apprehension amongst the white farming community. Some are worried it won’t stop at land, with their homes, vehicles and other possessions at risk, and others fear civil war will be the result.
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