The South African Parliament began the process of amending the constitution in February of this year to allow the confiscation of white property without compensation. When in 1996, Section 25 of the South African constitution was introduced, it was originally designed to protect the property of the white minority from future government-backed expropriation. It included the ‘willing-buyer, willing-seller’ clause which ensured that the land redistribution process wouldn’t take place without the consent of white farmers. The motion to amend this clause was originally introduced by Julius ‘kill the Boer’ Malema, the leader of the black nationalist Economic Freedom Fighters Party which has in recent years put pressure on the ANC from the racial populist left. Support for the motion and the attitudes that lie behind it are, however, far from limited to the usual anti-white race baiters who have inhabited the fringes of South African politics. The motion was passed with a hefty majority of 241 votes with the opposing votes amounting to only 83. Indeed while the post-Mugabe president of Zimbawe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has made overtures to the residual white population, the post Jacob Zuma era in South Africa has seen an increasing normalisation of open animus towards whites and their position in the economy. Cyril Ramaphosa the current President of South Africa has made “land reform” (i.e. the economic dispossession of the white minority) a key platform of his administration, primarily to distract attention from the endemic corruption which has been a recurrent feature of ANC governance.
Of course this latest development comes in the wider context of deteriorating race relations in South Africa, and the enduring phenomenon of violent land invasions directed against the predominantly white farming community. South Africa is undergoing a seminal moment in its history in which the post-apartheid structure established to guarantee the interests of racial minorities is rapidly being unravelled in favour of an exclusionary black nationalist politics. There has always been a concern in the post-colonial era amongst settler populations that majority rule in Africa would make white populations liable to being scapegoated by authoritarian rulers. It now seems increasingly likely that South Africa is heading down the road pursued by its northern neighbour where a semi-official policy of ethnic cleansing was conducted against whites by Mugabe’s henchmen in the early 2000s. There is a confluence of factors which point to a dark future for South African whites. A declining demographic influence triggered by emigration and black immigration (while whites were 20% of the population in the 1950s, they are currently 10% of the population and they are projected to decline to 5% in the coming decades) will undoubtedly make whites even more vulnerable as a market dominant minority to racial demagoguery.
When President Trump in a recent tweet shone light on this issue, condemning the racist policy of land expropriation and the widespread violence against farmers, it triggered the mass indignation of bien pensant leftists. An avalanche of articles containing half-truths have been published online by mainstream media organisations with the primary aim of burying as quickly as possible any discussion of the persecution of the white minority. The narrative of the liberal media has veered from denying the reality of racial violence against farmers to accusing Trump of employing a ‘racist’ talking point and of worsening race relations in South Africa. All the pathologies of leftists have been on full display. The Washington Post described Trump’s comments as ‘’white supremacist’’ while Vox described the belief that whites were persecuted as ‘white nationalist propaganda’. There is the strange process by which responsibility is shifted from the aggressors to the victims. Whites, the President of the USA, or indeed anyone who is the victim of, or seeks to prevent the victimisation inherent in the SA government’s policies, is made responsible for worsening race relations. If whites in SA have the audacity to complain about the original aggression against them then they are designating themselves as ‘racists’, and are only vindicating that aggression.
The tenuous claim that there is no racial violence against white farmers is based on the fact that farmers as a profession aren’t disproportionately murdered when compared to the country as a whole. It is true that white farmers don’t have a higher murder rate than other groups in South Africa. However, considering that farmers live in rural areas isolated from major centres of urban crime and belong to a population which is underrepresented in criminal activity as a whole, the homicide rate for farmers is extremely high. In fact the existence of a category known as ‘farm murders’ is indicative itself of racialised violence against white farmers. There should be no recorded phenomena of farm murders. Rural populations don’t have patterns of systematic homicide. White farmers don’t live in townships where they are likely by chance to encounter armed robbers or murderers, nor do they as a group have high rates of intra-racial violence. In 2017/2018 there were 561 farm attacks and 47 murders of farmers according to AgriSA (a South African agricultural union) while there are currently only 34,000 commercial farms. The AfriForum calculated a murder rate of 156 per 100,000 for years 2016 to 2017. For a population not proximate to sources of violent criminal activity that’s an extremely high homicide rate. When talking about farm attacks we are talking about groups of armed, exclusively black men attacking farms exclusively or primarily owned and manned by whites. In these attacks whites are not just murdered – they are often tortured and gang raped. To take one example among many, Nicci Simpson, a farmer in the Eastern Cape, had her feet drilled through with power tools in a six hour ordeal which culminated with her nearly being suffocated to death with a plastic bag. Piet Els, 86, a farmer in Kimberly, was beaten with metal rods and branded with iron.
While the ongoing violence against farmers can’t be characterised as genocide, it’s undoubtedly a form of ethnic violence. When this enduring ethnic violence is directed against a demographically declining minority, one that is dispersed throughout an entire country, then it can be considered a non-systematic form of ethnic cleansing. Ultimately the recent decision by the South African parliament has nothing to do with ‘readdressing past wrongs’. It is only the denouement of a long standing rhetorical and physical campaign of racist violence against whites. For the government to confiscate land from white farmers is only to regularise in a legally acceptable manner the violence which has been inflicted upon them for the last three decades.