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Seizure of White Farmers' Land in S Africa 'Severe Infringement on Human Rights'

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Last week the South African parliament adopted with an overwhelming majority of 241 votes in favor versus 83 votes against the motion to change the country’s constitution in order to pave the way for a planned expropriation of land from white farmers without any financial compensation.

Sputnik has discussed this issue with Kallie Kriel, the CEO of AfriForum. Before the establishment of AfriForum, Kallie was the Head of Marketing and member benefits at Solidarity.

Sputnik: How would you characterize the land expropriation motion in South Africa dubbed by some as reverse apartheid? How legal is this initiative?

Kallie Kriel: Expropriating property without paying for it would be a severe infringement on the human rights of property owners and should be condemned by the international community in the same way they condemned apartheid. If the South African constitution is changed as planned to allow for expropriation without compensation, it would be impossible the challenge it in South African courts as the courts function according to the constitution. In our view this does, however, not make it legal. Theft of property cannot be seen as legal simply because the constitution is changed to allow it. South Africa should also be bound by international law and treaties that don’t allow property to be stolen by the state.

Sputnik: Why is the government doing it now? Why has land redistribution become the key talking point in South Africa?

Kallie Kriel: The South African government has failed South Africans through corruption and incompetence. They are now trying to evade responsibility for this and retain support by making whites the scape goat for what went wrong in the country. They are desperate.

Sputnik: Some liken the situation in South Africa with that in Zimbabwe that led to economic challenges. What immediate and long-term repercussions could the land expropriation have? If implemented, how is this initiative to be handled?

Kallie Kriel: The immediate effect would be polarization and the drying up of much needed international investments. International and local investors don’t invest in places where there is disrespect for property rights. This will ultimately destroy South Africa’s economy, leading to the extreme poverty we see in Zimbabwe with a 90% unemployment rate. The difference is that people in Zimbabwe fled to South Africa after Mugabe destroyed that country, but South Africans have nowhere else to go.

The views and opinions expressed by Kallie Kriel are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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