Friday, August 12, 2005



from the headquarters of


Tel + 27 12 804 8031, Fax + 27 12 804 2014

12 August 2005


The newspaper headline “Land Shock” encapsulated in essence the cumulative hot air, socialistic demands and racist resentment which characterized the land reform summit held over five days at taxpayers’ expense during the last week in July this year. The results of the summit were pre-ordained – we knew the Minister of Land Affairs would ruminate on abolishing the “willing seller, willing buyer” principle - the linchpin of rural property security in South Africa, that the chattering land-grab classes would reiterate their ideological claims, and that the commercial farming sector would present logical and reasoned arguments to a summit which was clearly not listening.

The conference can be seen as a prelude to more and more assaults on the commercial farming sector in South Africa. The reiteration of clauses in the communist-contrived “Freedom Charter” of fifty years ago (the land shall belong to those who work it) was given prominent play, and it is clear the summit was to prepare South Africa for a Zimbabwe-style grab of productive commercial farms in the not too distant future.

The most ominous revelation was the SA State President Thabo Mbeki’s statement - reported on the BBC’s website (but not widely disseminated in South Africa) - that the Zimbabwe land grab was delayed “so that negotiations for South Africa’s liberation would succeed”. Mbeki said that when South Africa was negotiating its ‘transition to democracy’ (at the time Zimbabwe started its land grab), the Organisation of African Unity had asked Zimbabwe to stop the programme as it would ‘frighten the apartheid government in South Africa’.

In essence, Mbeki is telling us that the wholesale land theft which was to proceed in Zimbabwe was put on the back burner so as not to frighten South Africa’s whites who were in the process of surrendering their sovereignty on the false premise of power-sharing. This masterful sleight of hand worked, of course, and it is evidence of Mbeki’s supreme self-assurance that he would tell the world of this now, when his own government is relentlessly harassing and hobbling South Africa’s commercial farming sector.

The summit revealed the stark chasm which exists between the realists and the ideologues in South Africa, the last country in Africa to produce enough food for its own people. Given the vivid examples of Africa’s inability to feed itself - Zimbabwe, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Angola, Mozambique are but a few - one would think that those governing South Africa would be more sober in their land reform goals. But logic in the Western sense plays no part in the thinking of a government which is prepared to hand over R6 billion of taxpayers’ money to the heinous tyrant now destroying his country, Zimbabwe. This lack of logic could be seen in the ludicrous demands, vicious accusations and lying propaganda which emanated from the land summit.


To listen to some of the delegates, it would seem the whole purpose of the summit was not only to destroy South African commercial agriculture, but to insult white farmers as well. The vitriol with which some delegates hurled their insolence was shocking, and this racial resentment seems to be very close to the surface in modern-day South Africa. Farmers were verbally harangued by Blade Nzimande of the SA Communist Party. He said farm workers were killed by regularly being run over by tractors, and that farmers killed people by throwing them to lions. (A well known case concerning a man eaten by lions involved a white building contractor and two of his black assistants!).

So-called freedom songs were sung accompanied by the revolutionary cry “Amandla” (power), and the crowd were swept up by the hate speech from speaker after speaker. This resentment is a symptom of the huge inferiority complexes inherent in the ruling classes. They know they are incompetent, they know their continent is - as the London Economist put it - “useless”, and they blame everyone but themselves.

South Africa is at a crossroads. If the demands and malice of the summit prevail, then this country as we know it will be destroyed. There will indeed be no second chance. Once the agricultural sector is on the ropes, those who have been driven from their farms will not come back, as whites will never go back to a Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe.

Lies and myths were propagated yet again, despite being disproved a thousand times.

This TAU bulletin and other agricultural bodies have rebutted the falsehoods ad infinitum, yet they are regularly repeated.

Some of the myths surrounding land reform in South Africa were outlined by Mr. Willie Lewies, Deputy President of TAU SA, at the Land Summit.

In South Africa, a minority of white landowners control the land while the majority are homeless and live in misery.

The truth is the State owns 23% of all land, 13% is communal ground (that is belonging to tribes), 60% is in private hands (and this includes all races) while 4% has been redistributed. Further, the most fertile land is in the traditional black areas of the country but due to subsistence farming methods and over-population, there is little surplus production.

Land reform will spread property ownership equitably, and will increase food production, employment and income.

The opposite is true. So far land redistribution has resulted in most transferred farms falling into ruin. Food production, employment and income have not resulted. In truth, production has been lost. To date, the government has not performed a scientific audit on the results of its land redistribution programme in terms of increased food production and employment. Private researchers have shown by empirical example that handover farms have collapsed.

The land was stolen from the indigenous population and thus land reform is simply a return of productive land to those who originally owned it.

When whites arrived in South Africa in 1652, there was no productive farming to speak of. Subsistence agriculture may have existed in parts of the country, but in many areas there were few or no blacks. Numerous scientific studies have been done to prove this fact, but let us quote the Encyclopaedia Britannica of 1911 under the section Transvaal: “ In 1904, the first population census of the old Transvaal revealed there were 297,277 Whites and 937,127 non-Whites in that region. Of these non-whites, some 135 042 were not from the Transvaal but were only on the Witwatersrand “to work in the gold and other mines” and thus only 77% of all blacks in the Transvaal were actually born there.”

Continues the Britannica: “There were 314,797 blacks in the Zoutpansberg and other northern districts. These people belonged to the Bantu race and none of them has any claim to be indigenous and, save the Bavenda, all are immigrants since circa 1817 – 1820 when the greater part of the then inhabitants were exterminated by the Zulu chief Mozilikatze (see History).”

We can write books about the legitimate origins of commercial farming in South Africa. Those in power however are not listening. They are driven by ideology and in some instances hatred. Will the world sit by and allow those in power to destroy the last remaining working country in Africa? Does the world want another Zimbabwe, another Niger? South Africa’s commercial farming sector appeals to the world to wake up and monitor the deliberate efforts by the SA government and its cohorts to drive South Africa’s white farmers off their land, thus bringing the spectre of famine ever closer.