Mandla Mandela threatens with expropriation

If commercial, mainly white, farmers did not co-operate on land restitution and acknowledge the wrongs of the past, then expropriation would be the only way to resolve the issue, ANC MP Mandla Mandela said on Monday, Business Day newspaper reported.

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Speaking at a meeting of Parliament’s ad hoc committee on land reform, Mandela said: "Expropriation (of land) is not the way we necessarily want to go … but at this rate (without the co-operation of commercial farmers) this is the way we are heading." He was responding to a presentation by the Afrikanerbond, the descendent organisation of the Broederbond.

The Afrikanerbond’s presentation drew a robust, but polite discussion on the history of the situation and how to proceed on restitution without compromising food security according to However, MPs from all the parties present, including the ANC, the DA and the IFP, strongly rejected the Afrikanerbond’s interpretation of history and the organisation’s justification for continuing with the status quo of land ownership.

Parliament’s ad hoc committee on land reform is conducting a series of public hearings with the aim of tabling a report to the National Assembly by September 20 on the issue. In his presentation, Afrikanerbond chairperson, Pieter Vorster outlined the history of the land act, land use and today’s situation. Vorster’s presentation ended with the assertion that where land was bought after 1994 it should not be included in any restitution process.

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Vorster said commercial farmers were a unique type of people who invested capital in their land to make it productive.
MPs said the Afrikanerbond’s picture of history did not take into account the hardship and poverty that was imposed on generations of blacks. "How can you say that black people were given the most arable land? Where I come from in Limpopo, those hills are very rocky and nothing grows," ANC MP Catherine Mabuza said.

DA MP Annette Steyn warned the Afrikanerbond over the tone of their language. She said the Afrikanerbond’s delivery indicated an unwilling side to acknowledge the wrongs of the past. Committee chairperson Jerry Thibedi of the ANC said discussions were necessary to avert a situation such as that in Zimbabwe, where there have been widespread land invasions. "However, those who were dispossessed, were dispossessed by legislation. So it is important the state intervene to correct the wrongs," he said.