Saturday, November 03, 2007

This Land is Our Land

Further to our previous blog on land and property , the South African government has revealed that less than 5 percent of white-owned commercial agricultural land has been redistributed since the demise of apartheid in 1994, making the target of having 30 percent redistributed by 2014 seem almost unachievable. During apartheid, 87 percent of the land was reserved for the white minority, while the remainder was parcelled out to the black majority. However, only 13 percent of South Africa's land, much of it in the hands of white farmers, is deemed suitable for crop production. The land affairs annual report said 4.3 percent of land had been distributed to black beneficiaries since 1994 .

A recent report by the Nkuzi Development Association, a non-governmental organisation advocating land rights, claimed that between 1994 and 2004, 942,303 farmworkers were evicted from farms, 200,000 more than were evicted in the decade leading up to the demise of apartheid. The report said farmers had listed their reasons for evicting farmworker as drought, international competition, deregularisation of the sector and the minimum-wage regulations.

"Labour on farms is one production cost that can be cut or reduced, especially given the low level of unionisation and inability of farmworkers and -dwellers to defend their rights."

Nothing much changes when capitalism and private ownership of property remains in place .

"I conceive that land belongs to a vast family, of which many are dead, few are living and countless yet unborn." - A Nigerian chief's submission to the West African Land Commission in 1912

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