Just how much political heat is the ANC feeling ahead of the poll on 7 May? A significant amount, according to research by the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR), which maintains that the country is teeing itself up for a Zimbabwe-style land grab and, to ma k e mat t e r s worse, s ay s it s CEO, the official opposition is complicit. It’s easy to dismiss the claims as fanciful. Land rights are constitutionally protected, besides which, an economically prudent ruling party could not feasibly contemplate policies that would be destructive to already delicate foreign investor sentiment.
“Nobody thought so in Zimbabwe either,” says Frans Cronjé, CEO of the think tank that has published a controversial assessment of two pieces of pending legislation it argues could be as destructive to rural South Africa as Lord Kitchener’s scorched earth policy was during the South African War at the dawn of the last century.
“It could result in the expropriation of commercial farming operations with zero compensation,” cautions the IRR. The first of these is the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill of 2013 (the Restitution Bill). The aim of the legislation is to open a new f ive-year window during which land claims can