South African government officials began their land redistribution program by seizing two white-owned farms without agreed-upon compensation in the Limpopo province, the local newspaper City Press reported Sunday.
“Notice is hereby given that a terrain inspection will be held on the farms on April 5 2018 at 10am in order to conduct an audit of the assets and a handover of the farm’s keys to the state,” read a letter written to the company Akkerland Boerdery, which owns the expropriated farms.
Although the South African government offered to purchase the farmland from the white owners as part of its redistribution process, officials proposed to pay only $1.87 million, one-tenth of the company’s asking price of $18.7 million.
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A spokeswoman from AgriSa, an agricultural union, told City Press that “what makes the Akkerland case unique is that they apparently were not given the opportunity to first dispute the claim in court, as the law requires.”
The South African government is pursuing a constitutional amendment that would allow the seizure of white farmers’ land without any legal process or formal purchasing offers.
African National Congress (ANC) Chairman Gwede Mantashe alarmed white farm owners when he claimed last week that they shouldn’t “own more than 25,000 hectares of land.”
“You shouldn’t own more than 12,000 hectares of land, and therefore if you own more, it should be taken without compensation,” Mantashe told the website News24 Wednesday.
Racial tensions continue to run high among South Africa’s black majority and white minority since the end of apartheid in 1994.
White farmers in particular have been frequently subject to violent crime in recent years.
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