South Africa’s ruling ANC party causes Twitter storm after post appearing to call white people ‘murderers’… as they line up 139 farms to be seized by the government in coming weeks
By Afp and Sara Malm For Mailonline
04:39 EDT 06 Aug 2018, updated 09:46 EDT 06 Aug 2018
• ANC’s tweet on white farmers said it was a ‘mistake to consult murderers’
• Party deleted tweet and said it was a quote from a member of the public
• Change in constitution will allow government to seize and re-distribute land
• ANC plan on seizing 139 farms without compensation ‘in coming weeks’
• Much of the most productive land in South Africa is still owned by white people
The governing party of South Africa has sparked outrage by posting a tweet on its official account appearing to refer to the white population as ‘murderers’.
The African National Congress (ANC) tweeted a reaction to their plans to seize white-owned farms and re-distribute the land, stating that the ‘biggest mistake we are making is to consult murderers’.
The ANC later deleted the tweet, and explained that it had been a quote from a member of the public.
<img id=”i-dbb38e5fde688452″ class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/newpix/2018/08/06/09/4EDEE0C900000578-6030569-image-a-25_1533544300418.jpg” width=”634″ height=”528″ alt=”Outrage: The ANC tweeted the above comment in relation to the amendment to the constitution which will enable the government to seize white-owned land without compensation and redistribute it”/>
Outrage: The ANC tweeted the above comment in relation to the amendment to the constitution which will enable the government to seize white-owned land without compensation and redistribute it
It comes as 139 farms are being lined up to be seized by the government in the next few weeks, after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced he would be pushing ahead with the expropriation of privately owned land without compensation.
On Thursday, the ANC used an official account to live-tweet from a review hearing in the Western Cape, which saw members of the public give their views on Section 25, which covers the new policy.
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The now-deleted tweet read: ‘The biggest mistake we are making is to consult murderers. White people are 9% of the population, they own 79% of land.
‘They never came and consulted us for the land. If they want us to forgive them now, then let us share the land, the mineral resources.’
However, the shocking tweet was not put in quote marks nor attributed to any single person, sparking furious reactions, with the party being branded ‘racist’.
<img id=”i-2de429d1bbb7f541″ class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/newpix/2018/08/06/09/4EA0817700000578-6030569-South_Africa_is_to_change_its_constitution_to_speed_up_redistrib-a-14_1533544198195.jpg” width=”632″ height=”407″ alt=”President Cyril Ramaphosa (pictured) said his ruling ANC party will push ahead with plans to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation”/>
President Cyril Ramaphosa (pictured) said his ruling ANC party will push ahead with plans to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation
President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks on land expropriation plan
<img id=”i-74b38c3247f08210″ class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/newpix/2018/08/06/09/4EDEE0C900000578-6030569-image-m-26_1533544303407.jpg” width=”634″ height=”156″ alt=”Apology: Following online outrage, the ANC deleted the offending tweet and attributed the words to a member of the public”/>
Apology: Following online outrage, the ANC deleted the offending tweet and attributed the words to a member of the public
After deleting the tweet, the ANC posted: The tweet is a contribution/remark made by a member of the public. All tweets are a thread from the contributions made by the public, they are not the views of the ANC.’
However, this explanation was rejected by a number of Twitter users, with one person accusing the ANC of ‘cherry picking’ the views which had been racially divisive and tweeting them as their own.
Another person added: ‘You kind of rubber stamped it by putting it verbatim on your timeline’.
One said: ‘He who repeats a statement without distancing himself explicitly is considered repeating it out of agreement’, branding the ANC’s actions ‘atrocious’.
Shortly after the Twitter storm, local media reported that the ANC has already lined up 139 farms which they plan on seizing without compensation to their owners ‘in the coming weeks’.
Zizi Kodwa, an ANC national executive committee member who was present at the decision to move to expropriate the nearly 140 farms said the move was ‘necessary’.
‘Both domestic and international investors must appreciate that long-term investment is tied [to] ownership of land by the majority of people,’ Kodwa told City Press.
‘In other words, if you are talking about sustainable long-term certainty, it is tied to addressing the injustices of the past.’
<img id=”i-c81f9f84f520da1f” class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/newpix/2018/08/06/09/4EDEE0D100000578-6030569-image-a-23_1533544282724.jpg” width=”634″ height=”343″ alt=””/>
<img id=”i-b3199e5f8e03b37d” class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/newpix/2018/08/06/09/4EDEE0DD00000578-6030569-image-m-22_1533544264348.jpg” width=”634″ height=”175″ alt=””/>
<img id=”i-e5739c32152bc2ab” class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/newpix/2018/08/06/09/4EDEE0D600000578-6030569-image-m-21_1533544249954.jpg” width=”634″ height=”148″ alt=”Anger: A number of people questioned the ANC’s decision to post a tweet with a racially divisive message on its official account”/>
Anger: A number of people questioned the ANC’s decision to post a tweet with a racially divisive message on its official account
More than two decades after the end of apartheid, the white population still own most of South Africa’s land and ownership remains a highly emotive subject.
White farmers control 73 percent of arable areas and it is widely understood to be that land which could be forcibly seized and transferred to the previously disadvantaged.
The issue of whether to take land without compensating current owners is by far the most divisive and emotive issue facing modern South Africa with critics drawing parallels with Zimbabwe’s disastrous reforms.
Until now the government has pursued a policy of ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ to enable land transfer.
But in February lawmakers voted to establish a commission charged with rewriting the constitution to allow for forcible land transfers without compensation.
Observers have suggested constitutional reform is a ploy by the ANC, which has faced political pressure from the radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, to win votes in elections due next year.
‘The intention of this proposed amendment is to promote redress, advance economic development and increase agricultural production and food security,’ said Ramaphosa.
He has previously endorsed land reform on the condition that it should not hurt agricultural production or economic output.
The ANC alone does not have the two-thirds parliamentary majority required to amend the constitution but would be able to pass changes with the support of the EFF.
What are the controversial changes and why are they happening now?
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) is forging ahead with plans to change the constitution to allow the expropriation of land without compensation.
President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement late on Tuesday in a televised address to the nation, underscoring the political significance of the move.
The following explains some of the issues surrounding the emotive issue of land in Africa’s most industrialised economy.
Some legal experts argued there was no need to amend the constitution because Section 25 states that if land is taken from a property owner, ‘compensation … must be just and equitable.’
To some, ‘just and equitable’ could mean no compensation, depending on the circumstances in which previous occupants or owners were deprived of or removed from the land, either in British colonial times or under apartheid.
Citing recent public hearings, Ramaphosa said South Africans wanted the constitution to make clear when compensation was or was not justified.
<img id=”i-f060c997115df785″ class=”img-share” src=”https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/newpix/2018/08/01/14/4EBA8C3400000578-0-image-a-3_1533131450697.jpg” width=”586″ height=”383″ alt=”South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) is forging ahead with plans to change the constitution to allow the expropriation of land without compensation”/>
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) is forging ahead with plans to change the constitution to allow the expropriation of land without compensation
WHAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED?
South Africa has a history of colonial conquest and dispossession that pushed the black majority into crowded urban townships and rural reserves.
The 1913 Native Lands Act made it illegal for Africans to acquire land beyond these reserves, which became known as ‘Homelands’.
While blacks account for 80 percent of South Africa’s population, the former homelands comprised just 13 percent of the land. The traditional leaders that oversaw the homelands still hold significant sway.
Estimates vary but the consensus is that most privately owned land remains in white hands, making it a potent symbol of the wider economic and wealth disparities that remain two decades after the end of white-minority rule.
WHAT HAS BEEN DONE?
Since the end of apartheid in 1994, the ANC has followed a ‘willing-seller, willing-buyer’ model under which the government buys white-owned farms for redistribution to blacks. Progress has been slow.
Based on a survey of title deeds, the government says blacks own four percent of private land, and only eight percent of farmland has been transferred to black hands, well short of a target of 30 percent that was meant to have been reached in 2014.
AgriSA, a farm industry group, says 27 percent of farmland is in black hands. Its figure includes state land and plots tilled by black subsistence farmers in the old homelands.
Critics allege that many farms transferred to emerging black farmers have failed because of a lack of state support, an allegation Ramaphosa addressed on Tuesday.
‘The ANC has further directed government to urgently initiate farmer support programmes in depressed areas before the first rains this year,’ he said.
HAIL TO THE CHIEFS
The 17 million people who reside in the former homelands, a third of the population, are mostly subsistence farmers working tiny plots on communal land.
Critics of ANC land policy say that instead of seizing farmland from whites, such households should be given title deeds, turning millions into property owners. Reformers in the ANC have signalled their support for such a policy.
Former president Kgalema Motlanthe, who headed a panel of inquiry into the land issue, described traditional leaders as ‘village tin-pot dictators.’
Tribal chiefs were not amused, and warned the ANC in July to exclude territory under their control from its land reform drive. The Zulu King evoked the Anglo-Zulu war and the spectre of conflict over the issue.
Markets and investors are wary because of concerns about wider threats to property rights. The rand fell sharply and government bonds weakened after Ramaphosa’s announcement.
Analysts say South Africa is unlikely to follow the route of Zimbabwe, where the chaotic and violent seizure of white-owned farms under former president Robert Mugabe triggered economic collapse.
Ramaphosa has repeatedly said the policy will be implemented in a way that does not threaten food security or economic growth. ANC officials have said unused land will be the main target.
Still, the risks are substantial. South Africa feeds itself and is the continent’s largest maize producer and the world’s second-biggest citrus exporter.
Agriculture accounts for less than three percent of national output but employs 850,000 people, five percent of the workforce. Threats to production would also fan food inflation, hurting low-income households.
Analysts say the ANC wants to appeal to poorer black voters, the core of the ANC’s support, ahead of elections next year.
The move also cuts into the platform of the ultra-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, headed by firebrand Julius Malema, who has made land expropriation without compensation his clarion call.
The ANC is expected to fine-tune its proposal and then take it to parliament, where a two-thirds majority is needed to change the constitution. Together with the EFF, it has more than enough votes in the 400-seat parliament to effect the change.