South Africa ~ “Land Re-distribution?”

‘A re-distribution of land’

Whichever way the politicians in this year of the South African election (May 2014) would have it, it is a plain fact that the emotive phrase ‘A re-distribution of land’ means different strokes for different folks.

This is particularly true in a country which is bordered by Zimbabwe, whose ruling party under President Mugabe has over a number of years, ‘serenaded’ its peoples with the illusory hope that the Presidents’ promise would personally benefit them.

‘1913 Land Act’

Land in South Africa is a political tool. It is wielded without thought for tomorrow. It is proffered within the context of a cultural more that has no place in today’s practical world. The division of land under the ‘1913 Land Act, is a blunt weapon used to garner votes by the present South African ANC government, to seduce naïve and mostly uneducated followers who cannot feed themselves but who are asked to look upon those who can feed them as “White Ogres” who stole their land.

This blog is not an historical one, nor is it about school (political) playground tantrums by opposing the major parties here.

What I hope the reader comes away with from reading this piece is hopefully, an understanding as to what the writer ( UK born), sees from a less polarised political perspective.
As a basis from which to start I shall begin by saying this;

I have no patience with those who cannot differentiate between the morals of society from the past and ones of the present.
This does not mean that I am not sad retrospectively for the plight of peoples’ suffering throughout World history, be they Victorian children being shoved up chimneys in Great Britain or the trading of slaves by the ‘Powers of the day’, who seemingly had little or no compassion for the ‘goods’ that they stacked onto their respective slave ships.

We cannot be Judge and Jury of the past based upon our meagre advancement in the evolution of mankind.
It was a different time with a totally different moral code of ethics.
The world in which we find ourselves is governed by both fear and greed.
The affect of these words upon the less lucid of voters anywhere upon the planet, can be very powerful indeed.

Our politicians’ understanding of this, is undeniable.
“Vote for us and we will justify your ‘rights’ when taking the house of your white neighbour”
Most South Africans see this as reverse racism. And of course they are not wrong.
It is 20 years now since the free elections of 1994 here in SA, but still the stigma of being a ‘white’ South African, remains throughout the world.

The historical ignorance of the way Southern Africa was originally populated has a lot to answer for.
The black American who visits Cape Town to ‘find his roots’ has come too far South by well over 2000 miles!
Parallels are many. One that is relevant here would be the plight of the indigenous ‘Red Indian’ AKA the original American.

I post a link here as reference so that you might read and make a comparison to this parallel.


Address by President Jacob Zuma on Gala Dinner marking the
Centenary of the 1913 Land Act, Cape Town

Black ‘supremacists’ and their supporters quite falsely (Authors’ opinion) claim this Act to be a “cornerstone of apartheid” and “land theft” from the African people.

The core reason for the 1913 Land Act’s passing was the security of the whites, and particularly the farmers, to give them the necessary security of tenure on their farms to produce the food for what was still a country under the British flag, controlled essentially from London. Gold and diamonds had been discovered, and Britain was not going to give up this new jewel in their Crown.

Antagonists of the 1913 Act and indeed the following 1936 Act, if anything, should look to Britain for redress. These pieces of legislation were not apartheid Acts—they were devised in South Africa under a government controlled by Britain.

The current population of South Africa according to Stats SA is 52,98 million.
As quoted by the SA Institute of Race Relations’ Yearbook 2012, the population of the country in 1911 was:
Blacks: 4,018 million,
Whites: 1,276 million,
Coloureds: 525,466 million,
Indians: 152,094.
The percentages were white: 21% and black: 67%.
One hundred years later, the percentage population increase of blacks was 920%.

Whites who came to South Africa in 1652 and thereafter, found a land devoid of basic development and infrastructure, sparsely populated by meandering tribes who had no written word or concept of land ownership and whose way of life was the absolute antithesis of Western perception.

The black population arriving simultaneously with the European settlers, can surely therefore have no more claim to the country than the whites.
Bantu were immigrants from their original homeland in West Africa at the border of eastern Nigeria and Cameroon.

Their migration first introduced Bantu peoples to central, southern and southeastern Africa, regions from where they had previously been absent. These Bantu immigrants, in the process assimilated and/or displaced a number of earlier inhabitants that they came across, including Khoisan populations in the South of Africa ~ (South Africa).

“It is now acknowledged that the Khoi-San groups, and their sub-groups, are the indigenous peoples of South Africa.”

Numerous reports exist as to which tribe went where. But these reports are not the historical property of the black peoples.
Their claims to land in South Africa have no empirical foundation.

They are based upon oral history and folklore and what was observed by early European travellers and missionaries, by the British colonial presence in the country, and by Boer trekkers and administrators.
Man in his primitive state did not know the concept of ‘land tenure’
When hunter/gatherer groups formed, the first land tenure (if it can be called that) was by nature communal.

Before the arrival of the European in South Africa with his tradition of individual land ownership, ‘communal tenure’ in Africa was the norm.
From the very beginning of ‘settlement’, black and white were segregated.
South African history is replete with clashes over land ‘ownership’. There were no title deeds, no courts to decide who owned what.

Proclamations and annexations were followed by wars, clashes,  agreements and disagreements, theft of livestock, sloppy boundaries and arguments over the measurement and surveying of land.
Borders were drawn and re-drawn; people moved all over the place and a completely differing approach to farming by both groups existed.

In the black community, land was communal and the product of their agricultural activities was mainly for their own consumption. This was subsistence farming and it still persists in todays’ South Africa.

Soon after the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, it was deemed imperative to settle the land question once and for all. The government (still under the British Crown) believed that if land could not be partitioned and allocated within the ambit of a Western title deed system,  the very future of South Africa would be put at risk.

The most immediate problem was food production for a burgeoning population.
It was obvious to the British then that blacks could not produce enough food for surplus and to this day, this is still the case.

Recent statistics published by the SA Institute of Race Relations state there were
1, 337,400 units of food production in South Africa. Of these, 1,256,000 are subsistence farmers; 35,000 communal area farmers have a turnover of less than R300,000 per year; 24,000 small commercial units have turnovers of less than R300,000 per year, and only 22,400 commercial units have turnovers of more than R300,000 per year.

This means that only 6 percent of farmers in South Africa produce 95 percent of the food for 53 million people.

Whatever that you believe is right or wrong here, I think that you must agree that, should there ever come a time that a government is elected because of promises of ‘land redistribution’ it will surely sound a death knell for the South African peoples if implemented.

Go well,



One comment

  1. Nice one Nuff. Your background on the history of land claims since 1652 is good. The British did however favour the side of the Bantu in the case of Free State and SA Republic land. But were the culprits in claiming land in the Eastern Cape and Natal. But, subsistence farmers are just that – they satisfy there own needs only – and those of the populace. In the countries north of us – most government farming initiatives are being sold off to SA and European corporates to ensure adequate food production. We may have to go the full circle here as well!

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