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South Africa's land fears drive quest for 'white state'

South Africa

AfriForum, an organisation that mostly represents white South Africans who have described land expropriation as “catastrophic” are lobbying to the United States for help.

The group has stepped up street protests this year against land distribution plans and what it calls the targeted killing of white farmers.

“The best possible outcome that we hoped for was for a statement by the president of the USA, which we got,” Ernst Roets, deputy CEO of Afriforum said in relation to US president Donald Trump’s tweet in August when he pledged to investigate large scale killings of white farmers.

“I am appealing to Mr. Donald Trump, Mr. Donald there is indeed an ongoing slaughtering of the white minority people, the boer people of South Africa. You’ve been told a blatant lie by Mr Cyril Ramaphosa denying farm murders in South Africa,” said Black Monday Movement chairperson, Valerie Byliefeldt.

The government, academics and a wide range of commentators say Afriforum’s claims of targeted killings of white farmers and plans to take land along racial lines are not happening.

“Afriforum has understood this emergence of white chauvinist identities around the world and is manipulating it for its own ends. The problem with that is that it will fracture our communities,” said Adam Habib, vice-chancellor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

Meanwhile, the government says the land reforms are part of a reparative process to address racial inequalities following apartheid and centuries of colonial rule. The state has been moving forward with a proposal to seize some land from white farmers by revising the country’s constitution.


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