South Africa’s parliament recently moved for a controversial land redistribution plan. The plan would empower the government to seize lands from white farmers without offering them payment (a move that in the United States would likely elicit due process violation rebuttals) and give them to Black South African people.

The plan’s purpose is largely recompense for European colonial settlement, and related atrocities, waged against indigenous South Africans. It appears that South African leadership believes this plan will remedy some effects of colonization—which included not only the subjugation and separation of Black people from other groups but also their strategic displacement through European asset seizure. 

The Independent noted that a radical left party called the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) propelled this move. EFF Leader Julius Malema held no punches when he addressed the parliament.

“We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land,” Malema said. The land redistribution plan secured a substantial majority of support—with 241 votes for the plan and only 83 votes against amending the South African constitution to carry out the plan.

After his inauguration a couple of weeks ago, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa stated that he would expedite this land transfer process. President Ramaphosa also explained that South Africa would need to remain focused on food production and security during potential changes.

“I will shortly initiate a dialogue with key stakeholders,” Ramaphosa said. He continued. “There is no need for any one of us to panic and start beating war drums.

“We are going to address this and make sure that we come up with resolutions that resolve this once and for all. This original sin that was committed when our country was colonised must be resolved in a way that will take South Africa forward.” 

American media, including Business Insider, called the plan stupid and argued that South Africa would follow Zimbabwe’s footsteps and cause peril to its people. South Africa’s parliament told a committee to review the constitution and report back by the end of August.

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