Saturday, September 03, 2011

Eighty per cent of South African produce still comes from 15 per cent of its farms, most of them large-scale and white-owned. Although whites make up less than 10 per cent of South Africa's population of 50 million, they own about 90 per cent of the country's agricultural land. 40,000 white commercial farmers own 224 million acres of agricultural land. There are about 200,000 small farmers, nearly all black, 2 million to 2.5 million subsistence farmers, and more than half a million farm workers.

Ever since the founding of the African National Congress in 1912, the land question has been at the core of the South African liberation struggle. After the first all-race elections in 1994 to redress the imbalances in land ownership in South Africa the ANC established a target of redistributing 30 per cent of farmland to black farmers by 2014, a total of about 60.79 million acres. Instead, Nkwinti indicated the government has bought only about 14.82 million acres to date, of which nearly 4.94 million have been resold. After several big resettlement failures it then stopped handing out any acquired land in 2008.

Gugile Nkwinti, the minister of land reform, said black farmers have resold nearly 30 percent of the white farmland bought for them by the government, often selling back to the previous white owners.

Advocates for reform argue that the massive inequality in land ownership is a direct result of the colonisation of South Africa by Europeans and the consequent forcing of indigenous people of their land. Activist Andile Mngxitama said "The heart of the issue is that the land was taken by force and must be redistributed. It is a matter of ending apartheid,"

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