by Chauncey Tinker – 1 Mar 2018
In June last year I wrote a post on the situation in South Africa. At the time, former ANC activist Simon Roche (now of the Suidlanders civil defense organization – the largest organization of its kind in the world apparently) was predicting an imminent descent into civil conflict in that country. While that prediction has not yet come to pass, the situation has continued to deteriorate with water shortages and increasingly belligerent rhetoric from the govt. and other political organizations. Barbaric, murderous attacks on farmers have continued.
On Tuesday this week, the S. African parliament backed a motion for expropriation of white farmers’ land without compensation. The main objective presumably is to accelerate the confiscation of land from white farmers. This motion was reported at Reuters and the Daily Mail, but the BBC website has not yet reported on this even on the Africa page never mind the front page. This is however a significant event, as I hope will become clearer (if it’s not already) as you read this article. Here is the Reuters article:
Vote in South Africa’s parliament moves land reform closer
The article is biased heavily against the white farmers, the title refers to “land reform” but really this is simply land expropriation. It states:
Whites still own most of South Africa’s land following centuries of brutal colonial dispossession.
I will share Mr. Roche’s view on the “dispossession” question in a moment. The Reuters article does at least describe some of the realities of the expropriation:
Among the main criticisms leveled at government’s land reform policy over the years has been that many farms transferred to emerging black farmers lay fallow and unproductive.
So, agriculture is in fact being damaged by the process, not “reformed”. For a very different perspective, here is the latest interview with Mr. Roche (again by Stefan Molyneux). (Note it’s 51 minutes long, I summarize some key points below the link):
South Africa: Civil War | Simon Roche and Stefan Molyneux
Key claims from Mr. Roche:
Besides “lying by omission” in simply not reporting on the recent important motion on expropriation, the BBC has sought to downplay the significance of what is happening in S. Africa in general.
In November last year, the BBC published this article which purported to “fact-check” the claims that white farmers are being systematically targeted in violent attacks on farms:
Are protesters right on South Africa farm murder rate?
The first thing to note is that nowhere at all in this article does it mention the fact that prominent politicians have openly called for the Boer farmers to be killed. In fact the ANC have a song titled “Kill the Boer” which former president Jacob Zuma sang at a rally in 2012. Julius Malema, leader of the “Economic Freedom Fighters“, said in 2016 that:
“We are not calling for the slaughtering of white people, at least for now.”
The motion to expropriate the white farmers’ land without compensation mentioned above was brought in the parliament by this Mr. Malema (with the support of the ANC).
Also, there is no mention in the BBC article of the extremely vicious, barbaric nature of some of the attacks, which have included horrific acts of torture. If these attacks were simply farm robberies it is hard to understand why the attackers would feel the need to commit these atrocities against the farmers. Some of the most brutal attacks are described in this article from News 24:
Remembering the farmers who died trying to feed SA
Moller said he had seen farm attacks during which the victims had been skinned alive.
“I have seen little children who have been kicked and beaten in such a brutal fashion that their heads swell bigger than a soccer ball.
The BBC article does include an admission that the number of recorded farm murders has increased:
South Africa’s Police Service says 74 people were murdered on farms between April 2016 and March 2017, up from 58 in the previous year.
However the article then goes on to question the claims that farmers (and especially commercial farmers) are being particularly targeted. Note that the big questions in arriving at the right statistic are:
The BBC article quotes an estimate by AfriForum, a group that apparently campaigns on behalf of Afrikaners. The AfriForum estimates a murder rate of farmers of 156 per 100,000 (4.5 times the national average for S. Africa which is already very high). The BBC article says that this figure has probably been arrived at from a figure of 50 murders of farmers in 2015/16 out of approx. 32,000 commercial farms (remember the number of commercial farms is from 2007).
Then the BBC article questions 3 aspects of this calculation:
First, the data is very old, so the number of farmers may be different now.
Yes, the number of farmers is more than likely to be different now, it is likely that there are fewer commercial farmers in S. Africa now!! That would make the murder rate HIGHER than the estimate that the BBC is questioning (assuming that the 50 murders in question were mostly murders of commercial farmers).
An article from 2011 in the Mercury:
South Africa’s ever-shrinking farmers
THE number of commercial farmers in South Africa is set to drop from 40 000 to 15 000 over the next 15 years.
Organised agriculture has said that without enough viable commercial farms, South Africa’s food security is endangered.
The Mercury article also states that the number of commercial farmers fell from 128,000 in 1980 to 58,000 in 1997 to only 40,000 in 2011 – a massive decrease that is projected to continue. Therefore the murder rate in question is more likely to be an under-estimate than an over-estimate. Remember again that land is being expropriated from commercial farms and sometimes left unused.
(Note that this 40,000 figure from 2011 is higher than the 32,000 earlier figure used by the AfriForum that is supposed to be for 2007, so there’s a question mark there, possibly these two figures are using different criteria. The Mercury article is clearly describing an ongoing decline in numbers – that is the important point here).
The second aspect that the BBC article questions:
Second, to exclude murdered family members, employees, and visitors to the farm from such an analysis misses part of the picture of what is happening on South African farms – but we don’t know how many of those people there are.
This is a spectacular attempt to deflect our attention away from what the AfriForum are drawing our attention to. The BBC want us to look then at a much larger group – all agricultural workers, to look instead at the murder rate for the overall group, no doubt in order to deflect our attention away from the severity of the situation that the commercial farmers specifically are facing. Note that it is stated in the BBC article that the TAU figure of 50 murders EXCLUDES their family members, employees and visitors:
… the 50 murdered farmers counted by the TAU in 2016 (which excludes murders of family members, employees and visitors).
There is also a problem in that the police are not reporting ethnicity in murder statistics, which further complicates the situation. The last available statistics on the ethnicity of those murdered seem to come from 2001 according to this at least (from ENCA):
INFOGRAPHIC: Farm murder numbers conundrum
of the 1,398 people attacked on farms, 61.6-percent were white, 33.3 percent were black, 4.4 percent were Asian and 0.7 percent were listed as “other”.
69.7 percent of the victims were farmers or their family members, 29.5 percent were workers or their family members and 0.9 percent were visitors.
As this ENCA article states however, this does not necessarily reflect the current situation in any way. What is clear though is that the authorities don’t want anyone to know what the true situation is.
The third aspect the BBC article questions is whether the 32,000 commercial farmers figure is the right total to use in calculating the murder rate, because it says that some of the murders reported (in the figure from the TAU) were non-commercial farmers. There may at least be something in this point, but from an AfriForum report for the following year 2016/17 (I couldn’t find a similar report for the 2015/16 period) the farm/smallholding ratio of murders is quoted as 43/31 (total 74). According to Mr. Roche the term “smallholding” means non-commercial farm. Even if we only use this 43 figure for 2016/17, divide it by the 32,000 figure (which may be lower now), we still get a high rate of 134 murders per 100,000. Unfortunately it is not clearly stated here however whether this number is including family members and others, so there is still some confusion admittedly there. The numbers they give in this report do seem to suggest that farm workers are attacked in a smaller percentage of the attacks (i.e. that suggests it’s mostly the farmers and their family members who are attacked):
FARM ATTACKS AND FARM MURDERS IN SOUTH AFRICA
In 61 of the incidents recorded, workers of the property formed part of the victims.
That’s 61 out of 357 incidents. It seems reasonable to conclude from this that the objective in most of the attacks is to attack the farmers, not the farm workers. Note also that this report states that 13 of the incidents involved torture.
The BBC article concludes:
On some sets of assumptions, the farm murder rate is no higher than the national average.
In short – we have no clear idea about the murder rate on South African farms.
Whatever the exact truth about the murder rate of commercial farmers may be, what seems to be beyond doubt is that the number of productive commercial farmers is in serious decline, and the consequence of THAT fact must surely be that eventually there will be serious food shortages. Focusing unduly on the murder rate also tends to distract us from the overall number of attacks on farms, which is much higher. For example in 2016/17 there were 357 attacks involving 553 victims including the 74 murders. The fear that these attacks will be creating cannot be insignificant, especially coupled with the hostile rhetoric and even incitements to violence from political leaders, and isolation that the dwindling population of commercial farmers face.
It would seem that the situation in S. Africa is indeed deteriorating, but the BBC won’t be acknowledging that fact until the situation has reached a real crisis point. Obviously the implications of a collapse in the food supply in S. Africa will be very serious and will be felt far beyond the country. When that point comes of course the BBC will be saying “well, who could have predicted that?”, no doubt blaming apartheid or climate change or Donald Trump, and then urging us to grant asylum to the millions who will be starving as a result of the man-made crisis.
ELSEWHERE ON THE WEB:
An article on govt. moves to expropriate land from farmers which appears to support some of Mr. Roche’s above claims, from Farmers Weekly (2015):
Threats to commercial farms
between 70% and 90% of all land reform projects have failed, beneficiaries being unable to produce any marketable surplus.
The above article also focuses on the nature of the redistribution from private farmers to state owned and community organizations as part of a Marxist agenda.
From the BBC:
Africa ‘set to miss UN development goal on malnutrition’
From Genocide Watch:
From Times Live (October 2017):
Farmers 4.5 times more at risk of being murdered - AfriForum
Deputy CEO Ernst Roets said the group was being “deliberately conservative” in its numbers.
Lauren Southern has also been bravely travelling around South Africa without any security escort, staying at farms and gathering information about the situation (warning there are some very disturbing images and accounts in this 7.5 minutes long clip):
The Reality of South African Farm Murders
From the Daily Mail:
‘We are not calling for the slaughter of white people – at least for now’: South African parliament votes to SEIZE white-owned land as experts warn of violent repercussions
Malema not calling for the slaughter of whites, for now
From the Express:
Gunmen OUTNUMBER officers in police station attack ‘EXECUTING at least SIX’
A significant exodus from Zimbabwe has been taking place thanks to the land “reforms” carried out in that country. The favourite destination for legal migrants is the UK according to this BBC article (from 2005):
So where are Zimbabweans going?
… the Zimbabwe government, which tacitly admits that its citizens are leaving en masse.
Figures published by the IOM suggest that the largest group of legal emigrants – 36.8% of the total – go to the United Kingdom, while only 4.8% go to South Africa.
However so far a lot of Zimbabweans have apparently migrated to S. Africa illegally. The Guardian reported in 2007:
Refugees flood from Zimbabwe
it is widely estimated that 3.4 million Zimbabweans – a quarter of the population – have now fled
South Africa is the world’s 24th-most populous nation. Its population is several times the size of Zimbabwe’s population.
Patrick Bond a professor from Wits University gives an alternative view (from The South African – published today):
Land expropriation: Why South Africa won’t become a “second Zimbabwe”
… any reform plans are more “rhetoric than reality”:
As an ex-farmer himself, Ramaphosa knows the damage a mismanaged expropriation programme could cause. …
A Looming Crisis In South Africa?
What do you think? Please leave a comment below.