When a recent report on the irrevocable seizure and redistribution of farmland by white farmers in South Africa raised President Donald Trump's concern, his South African colleague told him to stay out of our business.
Later reports have raised questions about the size of land confiscations and how violent the seizures are
The African National Congress (ANC) is South Africa's long-standing governing party and is currently headed by the country's president, Cyril, Ramaphosa. Ramaphosa drew the attention of the US media after Tucker Carlson on his Fox News Channel broadcast, reported on August 22 that Ramaphosa had begun to "confiscate land from his own citizens without compensation because they were the wrong one [1
After Carlson's program broadcast the segment, Trump tweeted his reaction and asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to "investigate the matter."
In a subsequent speech Ramaphosa responded to Trump's tweets by saying, "Stay out of our problems, and we will not interfere in your problems in America."
I have asked Foreign Minister @SecPompeo to closely investigate the confiscation and expropriation of land and farms in South Africa and the large-scale killing of farmers. "The South African government is now confiscating land from white farmers." @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2018
Trump's Tweet generated a lot of attention and discussion about what's really going on in South Africa.
The ANC has proposed the expropriation of farmland without compensation, but the South African constitution has not been changed yet.
Uncompensated expropriation means that the government could force farmers to give up part or all of the land for nothing.
The Daily Signal talked to a white South African farmer about the current political climate in his country, which relates to the safety of white peasants and their land.
For his safety, the pseudonym Paul Engle will be used instead of his real name.
Engle owns and operates a 50-acre macadamia nut farm in northeastern South Africa. He grew up in South Africa and has been running the farm for more than five years.
"The story of the situation is that white farmers were obviously privileged during apartheid," he said, pointing to the apartheid system in South Africa, the racist segregation of blacks and whites under the rule of the white minority. "They got farms or access to farms."
South Africa's apartheid ended in 1994, and the country has since been governed by the black majority.
The South African publication Farmers Weekly reported that in 1994 there were 120,000 commercial establishments in operation. Today, this number has dropped to 35,000.
Engle said that nearly 100,000 peasants had moved out of the country, some out of fear of crime, while others simply retired and their sons decided not to work the land. "They do not want the fighting, they do not want the trouble," he explained.
He said many of these abandoned farms had been sold, mainly to those displaced from the countryside during apartheid. But the reclaimed land is not farmed and no longer produces commercial crops.
This loss of productivity is increasingly worrying among South Africans about the nation's economic stability.
"The granary continues to shrink, which means that the very people who want the land will suffer, because as food supplies fall, prices rise, which means more food needs to be imported." Engle explained and added:
I think where the situation is right now, white farmers – and unfortunately these are the guys who know how to farmt – they have the resources, the know-how, the technology, after all been there for generations.
This sector of our economy is shrinking. And then, of course, more pressure comes on the government, as the government speaks of expropriation without compensation. So it's a very fragile, vulnerable part of South Africa.
Joshua Meservey, as the political analyst for Africa and the Middle East of The Heritage Foundation says, is unlikely that the government would do so looted land of all white farmers. It is more likely that land would only be taken from some farms or parts of farms, he said.
Engle said that at the beginning of the year, Ramaphosa asked for a report that would give all South Africans a voice on land dispossession.
"Throughout the nation, they had meetings with communities, businesses, agricultural sectors, all aspects of society," he said. "Then this should be written in a report that should go back to the government to say, 'This is what the nation says [about expropriation]. "
The report should be ready by the end of August, but it needs to be published, but earlier this month Ramaphosa said the ANC would not wait for the report but would continue the expropriation process.
News24 News24 reported on August 1, Ramaphosa said, "the ANC would propose to Parliament a constitutional amendment laying out the conditions for the expropriation of land without compensation."
Engle stated that this statement was made by Ramaphosa Not as the president of South Africa, but as the leader of the ANC. "He makes it a political statement, not a government decision," he said.
He said that in the northeastern province of Limpopo, has a minister already started the process of removing two commercial farms and that the secretary of the ANC has declared that white farmers only 12,000 hectares – about 25,000 acr and that they have to hand over the rest of their land to the state.
According to Engle, Ramaphosa now seems to run a little backwards in some of his more radical statements. The South African leader said, "We will not steal and seize land" News24 reported on August 3.
Engle told the Daily Signal that the rhetoric and actions of the country's political leaders had been
that has caused "a lot of unrest in the country". Engle says: "It's not as if Ramaphosa is sailing the ship and there is a voice there are several voices."
Engle described the political motivation for expropriating the land. The "ANC" has become unpopular because he did not run the country well. It appears that Ramaphosa has been overthrown by the EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters, the extremist party led by Julius Malema) without compensation for expropriation.
He said that the ANC has been the governing party for more than 20 years, but during that time the nation has seen an increase in crime and a radical decline in the quality of health care and education.
"They manage the crime Not. They do not manage corruption, and they do not create incompetence, "said Engle.
People in South Africa have begun to lose confidence in the ANC, and land-looted rhetoric is an attempt to regain lost popularity, he said.
"They talk about changes in education, land and health so they can win favor. It is very political. They are motivated by politics, they want to stay in power, "said Engle." I do not see a pure heart of, "Let's help the nation, let's help the poor, let's help our people." It's all politics.
The Heritage Foundation's 2017 Index of Economic Freedom states: "South Africa's economic growth has slowed down in 2017 due to falling global competitiveness, heightened political instability and weakened rule of law, leading to downgrading of the investment grade rating to junk status a loss of investor confidence. "
Hereserves Meservey added:" One of the problems of expropriation – without compensation – is that it requires the deeply corrupt South African. The government, which has previously made previous land reform efforts, could competently and fairly conduct this new process. That's a dubious suggestion.
Despite politics, Engle said he believes, "Most South Africans, white South Africans, recognize that there must be some form of expropriation. "
" We must return, but it can not go at the expense of the economy, and it can not be made illegal …. I think there is a recognition that [expropriation] must be done because it leads to peace He said, "And there are many poor people. They need a piece of their own land that they can farm and raise chickens, especially in the cities. When asked about security concerns, Achle shrugged, "Yeah, I mean, where we are is very safe … but there is always the feeling that it could happen, that it could happen anytime . "
" But there is no escalation of the crime against white farmers. It's not more than since 1994. Crime on farms, murders and so on is not necessarily political. It's just that farmers are a soft target, "he explained.
" Often it's the workers who are upset because they did not get what they want, or maybe the farmer was hard on them. Maybe he was racist towards them. It's a kind of payback; Well, that happens. "
Crime and corruption are not unknown in South African history, but the political climate is now quite strong." It feels like South Africa is getting out of control, "said Engle.
He indicated uncertainty about where to go There is a legitimate concern that South Africa will follow the same path as neighboring Zimbabwe and become involved in political corruption and economic ruin.
Robert Mugabe, the longtime former president of Zimbabwe, has been working for the Zimbabwe without compensation As the white farmers in former Rhodesia lost their land – and sometimes even their lives – the Zimbabwean economy collapsed.
Engle said it remains to be seen what will happen in South Africa, but he prays for a miracle because "It will take a miracle to turn it around. "