South African president Jacob Zuma has called on lawmakers to help seize white-owned land without compensation – to establish ‘pre-colonial’ patterns.
But he has been warned that the measure would trigger a racial war in a country historically blighted by racial tensions.
Speaking to parliament, he called for unity between black parties. The controversial move would require a change to the constitution.+2
Zuma’s comments echo those of his rival Julius Malema, who said earlier this week: ‘So, we are saying black people, all of us must unite so that we can change the constitution so that we can expropriate land without compensation.
‘There is no white man that will understand it.’
Zuma told the Council of Traditional Leaders: ‘The black parties should unite on this issue. We cannot fight about nothing.’
Despite his ANC party having voted down a motion by the opposition EFF, headed by Malema, calling for land expropriation without compensation, Zuma spoke about his great-grandfathers, whose land had been confiscated.
He said: ‘It is now time for action. The time for talking, writing and analysis is over.’+2
The president has revealed that an audit of ‘pre-colonial land ownership’, and said: ‘Once the audit is completed, one law should be written so that we can handle land restitution without compensation. The necessary constitutional changes will be made. The black parties should unite on this issue.’
His populist remarks follow a campaign by Malema, who has called on black South Africans to reclaim land taken by ‘Dutch thugs’.
A racial breakdown of land ownership is not available in South Africa, but there is a widespread belief that it largely favours the country’s white population.
Following Zuma’s comments, The Telegraph reports, Andries Breytenbach, who heads the Boer Afrikaner Volksraad, described it as ‘a declaration of war’.
He stated: ‘We are ready to fight back. We need urgent mediation between us and the government. If this starts, it will turn into a racial war which we want to prevent.’