One would have thought the “end” of apartheid in 1994 would usher a new hope and realities to the millions of black South Africans, and put an end to racial discrimination and minority rule. The latter is achieved however; the former remains fresh in the streets of Cape Town.
More than just gaining independence and self-rule, 20 years after the declaration of independence and “end” to apartheid rule, the reminisce of apartheid and widespread racial inequality still abounds in the racial sensitive State at the centre of which is the issue of land ownership.
In 2017, Government Land Audit Report commissioned by Rural Development and Land Reform Department in South Africa indicated in a 36-page report, that 72% of private farmlands in South Africa is owned and controlled by white people, who constitute only 9% of the 57 million population. Black Africans according to the same report own only 15% of the farmlands, Indians at 5%, and the residual 3% classified as others.
Before the institution of apartheid, legislation (Land Act) was passed in 1913, which criminalised black people from owning lands. The Land Act compelled scores of ingenious South Africans from their farms into the cities and towns to labour, under racial restrictions.
Apart from frequent attacks and murders mostly of white people which some Eurocentric describe as “white genocide”, the greater divide in South Africa over the land saga, however, is the policy of Land Expropriation without Compensation which has recently been championed by left-wing politician, Julius Malema.
A good number of South Africans today felt betrayed by the traditional ruling African Nation Congress (ANC), for failing to implement its own agenda of land reforms.
For many impatient South Africans, it is a matter of long historical injustice and land seizure is a question of remedial justice. It is, therefore, no surprise that Land Reform is now a major political issue in contemporary South African Politics.