White farmers in the firing line over land grab

White farmers in the firing line over land grab, by Bruce Louden. Zimbabwe:

Memories of Robert Mugabe’s mind-numbingly stupid expulsion of white farmers from their land in neighbouring Zimbabwe, something that impoverished a country that was “the breadbasket of Africa”, are still fresh.

The images of white Zimbabwean farmers and their terrified families fleeing the violence of Mugabe-inspired black mobs, their homesteads ablaze and vital food crops destroyed, still linger. So does the heart-wrenching reality that, having expelled the white farmers, the political cronies to whom Mugabe handed over the once highly efficient farms have mostly shown themselves ­incap­able of maintaining them as productive entities, instead allowing the jungle to reclaim the land while Zimbabweans starved.

Now, with the nonagenarian Mugabe ousted in a quasi-military coup and replaced by his long-time henchman Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe is trying to make it up to the 4500 white farmers cruelly driven off their land. The small number who managed to hang on, maybe no more than 200, have been offered 99-year leases by the new government. As well, a very small number of white farmers — maybe no more than a half-dozen — who were expelled have been allowed back. …

South Africa:

Overshadowing it is the grim reality — little known outside South Africa — that since apartheid ended in 1994, white farmers, the backbone of the vital agricultural sector that provides the food for the country’s 56.5 million people — have been targeted in a sustained onslaught in which there were 400 attacks on farms in the past year alone, and one or two farmers were killed every week. …

With so many farmers being targeted, sometimes by black gangs armed with AK-47 assault rifles and other sophisticated weaponry, it is not hard to understand claims that there is a concerted move to drive them off their land. …

Some of the violence that accompanies these attacks is “so abnormally cruel that many whites feel certain they are being sent a message to leave the land … holes drilled through the feet of elderly women. People burned alive. Women raped and bashed. Men shot dead in front of their wives and children.” …

Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton … says he has asked his department to explore whether they can be given refugee or ­humanitarian visas, in doing so ­arguing they need help from a “civilised country like ours”. …

An increasingly influential fringe party known as the Economic Freedom Fighters, led by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema …

Malema says “we are cutting the throat of whiteness”, and in his fervent campaign aimed at achieving land expropriation clearly aimed at South Africa’s white farmers, he is joined not just by the ANC but also groups such as Black Land First, which has warned black South Africans against buying the estimated 20,000 farms for sale. “All the land in white hands is stolen property,” it says, going further than the ANC, which now speaks in terms of expropriating land “taken under colonialism and apartheid”.

Not that it should be relevant now, but South Africa was vacant when white settlers arrived because the Zulus had murdered everyone then retired back further north.

hat-tip Stephen Neil